artwork: ralph murre
by Karla Huston
After supper in hot August, and before
the mosquitoes began their feasting,
my father took us to
. Lake Neshonoc
We spread towels on the sand
and placed our shoes at the corners.
My brother and I stepped carefully into the water,
staying close to shore, while my mother
tucked pin curls into her tight bathing cap.
My dad would barrel-ass down the bank,
slice the water, show up on the other side
of the safety ropes, grinning.
Exactly three crawl strokes later,
he’d hoist himself onto the diving raft, shake
water from his blond hair and dive in again,
bringing up handfuls of mucky lake bottom,
laughing as worms of mud crawled down his arms.
On the way home, if we were lucky, he’d stop
for rootbeers or curly topped cones.
We’d sit on towels in his ‘57
and while my brother socked my arm,
my parents shared a smile that meant
more sweetness. Falling asleep later,
the lake came back, the scent of muddy water
hugging my skin, my father’s face grinning
mischief, those waves rocking me to sleep.
~ previously published in Catch and Release
Editions) Marsh River