Bethany Ashley, Contributor.
The Zamboni threw a layer of clean water onto the ice,
its driver giving a two-fingered salute to the one-man bench.
Ten games out of the hockey season but he still skates
on blades thin enough to cut the cancer out
rather than drown it intravenously.
He pulls his jersey over bloodwork bruises.
First cracks his joints, then his stick against the floor.
After-hours lighting casting a green shadow across his face,
he carves a network of capillaries into the rink.
The ice too fast, the puck flies towards the boards.
He chases it as sweat collects on the back of his neck.
Turning swiftly but not wanting to stop in time,
his body ricochets against the plexiglass.
It shudders and trembles under his weight.
Breathless, he curves back from behind the goal,
skate catching on a rough part of the line.
He swings the puck top-right to the back of the net,
his body only off balance for the slowest moment.