artwork: lucha (marie skrobot)
by Jude Genereaux
You know that smell the minute
you walk in
know you’ve been there
reached back and arrived again
The old bait shop, milk & bread store
at the four corners by the water.
Could be up there at
where Walloon Lake
Old Hem hung out on his way
north to the Big Two Hearted or the
one in Baileys on the harbor
- any hundred others on the Brule, the U.P.
Up North Wisconsin,
smells the same
and you’re 10 again
waiting for Dad to take you out in that old row boat
one with the slats in the bottom, sloshing water
a can of worms in your hand
waiting at Uncle Hank’s dock
morning mist steaming off
The cheap wooden screen door Bang!
slams behind you
bakery wrapped in cellophane,
bags of chips & donuts beckon.
“Indian” souvenirs - birch bark canoes &
sweetgrass baskets, an ice chest full of soda pop, all
, next to post cards
of black bear & trout Sale
and the over-riding scent of old wood, damp
musty closed-for-the-winter stored stuff & mildew
overpowers all else
as you walk back through the door
to summers gone and memories
of when you were ten.
~ first published in the Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar