is the wet gray clay

drying on my mother’s hands,

the metal disk of her wheel

whirring round and round

as she shapes the lip of a vase

with careful, gentle fingers;

it looks perfect to me, but she

crushes it into formlessness

with the back of a hand, starts again.


I run outside, breathe in the smell

of the bright blue day and the dirt

road’s dust, then sit, legs splayed,

on the huge log outside the fade-

to-gray walls of the old library,

gulp orange pop, wolf down sandwiches,

and lick squares of chocolate

wrapped in bright silver foil.


My sisters and I race to the bluff’s edge,

play freeze-tag and squint to see

the salmon entering the wide Kenai;

we hide-and-seek in the empty chapel,

rise on tiptoes to peer through the glass

of the old Russian Orthodox church,

find the golden icons of Mary and baby,

then lean over the thin white daggers

of the graveyard’s fence to count

the wooden crosses and wild roses.


We spin until we fall into the grass,

and dream that summer lasts forever.



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