On the barest pantry shelf, where preserves crowd before summer jams heavy on us. At the core of the question Mother asks each July: Little girl, when did it get so bad?
I used to pick the trash up out of the ditch on Patterson road in Smiths Grove. It was there I saw him spit out his window, bent can at my feet. As soon as I cleaned up one thing there was a new paper bag, a new bottle.
What they remember is your drowning not your Olympic swimming not those dives those ecstatic surfacings not how you caught what flashed beneath the billows not how you wrote on the waves.
When I think of that beach when I think of where the planes landed when I was a Barra boy when I think of the generation before the planes when I ran, a little girl with braids flying down the strand from my Ma to my Da
Brother, do you remember? All those years ago? How sticky pinecones crunched and crackled when we stole into the silent woods, the moon above like a coin of butter melting into the frosty misty midnight air,
—Maude Masteller Sockman Brown, 1935 Narrow, curved back stairway to the children’s bedrooms Wood darkened by generations of bare feet and sly kittens
Roy always welcomes when I arrive (again) bathed in Saturday manure, mud and sweat, knowing already each inch of a cabin filled with the essential—the wood stove, the spring pump, the bookcase proud with well-used ancient texts/ the covered porch where he rests to watch the world approach.
Out the window, hoarfrost beards the mountain; inside, Buck stove flames ripple, dog snores, brandy flares in throat. Snug in twin armchairs, we dwell in two worlds: your Vikings pillage, slaughter; my plucky English detective scours the village, building her case.
At midnight we seek the lake with no lights in a canoe. . .
Tobacco dry, money and a carnival on the way again, the moon begins her due-west march down the aisle, donning thin clouds as a veil.