Bio Note: I am a transplanted New Yorker who has made my home in the desert in Tucson, Az for the past thirty years, where I am founder and publisher of Schaffner Press. In addition to being a publisher, I am a drummer and poet, and enjoy being in nature as much as possible.
Snow is falling today on the finches' green wings as they chase at the feeder, chattering in our front yard. And I think of my students from language arts twenty years ago when the first flakes fell on the pavement outside and I let them run out the classroom into the yard to greet the flakes, that were for most of them, the very first time they'd ever seen real snow, been in it and underneath its blessing breath.
First thing today, I removed the sheets, the pillow cases, duvet patterned with purple, gold, and green design, and set embroidered cushions aside. Unfolding sheets crisp and cold, I tucked the flaps beneath our mattress smoothing dimples down rumpled creases. I gently placed the cushions where you'll slip below the surface, softly, with our dog sleeping at your feet, a novel falling from your hands.
Until the kid drowned we called it the Lake Beach, water the color of black tea surrounded by bungalows slumped in shadows painted red like the rust on our bicycle spokes. Those summers, we'd go there often, wielding inner tubes and squeaky rafts, paddle to the float where the big kids swam dunking and splashing, or basking, then with crocodilian stealth, they'd dive underneath and burst to the surface, pushing us under with water choke and splutter up my nose, gasping for air. Below strands of weak light, struggling feet, pale as fish thrashing, arms separate from our bodies, try to ward off onslaught of laughter. When the kid drowned, we weren't in the water, but on the grey sand beach adorned with floral towels, beach umbrellas, packed hampers and sweating pitchers of iced Kool-Ade. "He caught a bad cramp," the mothers said, "a few feet from the shore, and the drop took him." He didn't listen when they told him to wait just a few minutes more. Divers recovered his body and zipped him in a black bag. Rain dampened the beach. Parents hustled us shivering to waiting cars, our lips blue, the lake in our skin and hair.
©2020 Tim Schaffner
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