Platter of Light

Kyle Simonsen

Winter arrived as midnight sleet, spackled everything with a southwest wind’s relentless pressure. Chunky, bubbly ice pasted our patio and the south side of our mailbox. A thin layer of powder fell to camouflage the treacherous ice beneath.


I bundle my three-year-old son for the sinister chill. He doesn’t remember winter, doesn’t know snow aside from the glittery stuff in drifts of picture books beside his bed. Before leaving, I crouch down and catch his gaze. 

“Now, be very careful,” I say. “It’s dangerous out there.” 

He nods, eyes big, says nothing.


The preschool parking lot is a vast rink, smooth and slick from curb to curb. He clambers out the car seat and down and whoosh, they’re gone, his feet, somehow three different ways, scrambling. I snatch his elbow, haul him up.

“Let’s walk careful. Like penguins,” I tell him, and we do—for a minute—shuffling above the thin light of the ice and the dark concrete beneath.

But then he skates, and then stomps, and slips again but I’m holding his hand, and I catch him, and then again. He cracks ice, kicks it up, takes time teasing at the cracks with his toes, watching it splinter, spiderweb, laughing when his shoes melt enough of the stuff to squeak as he glides across it. I realize I can only see the slipping, but he sees so much more, and suddenly the lot catches the sun at last, a platter of light reflecting back up into the everywhere.

About the Author: Kyle Simonsen teaches writing, editing, and literature at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. His writing appears in Assay, Rain Taxi, and March Xness, among other places, and he is the managing editor of The Linden Review. He has a wife, and she has him, and together they have two kids in a place called Wahoo.