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.