When I swung forward, I leaned back so far that the trees were upside down. I enjoyed the giddy feeling in my stomach, but eventually the rope burned my hands and I got off the swing and swayed, slightly dizzy, on the ground. The rope was tied to a tree limb at the top and to an old tire at the bottom. I looked down the gentle hill at the carpet of brown and yellow leaves which gave way to grass and then our house and then more grass and then Freeport Drive and then the hill where I rode my bike and the freedom of being 10 years old in Burlington Massachusetts circa 1980. Continue reading Freeport Drive
“A boy adjusts the position of a box of tissues on his desk and sits cross-legged on his bed. It is a Sunday afternoon and he has nothing else to do. The door to his room is closed, and nobody will bother him before dinnertime. He has all afternoon to make the box of tissues move with his mind…”
The rumbling started yesterday afternoon, just a little while after I arrived. Within the space of a few minutes the house got dark, but Grandma didn’t seem to notice anything until she saw the clouds in my eyes. Continue reading Thunder in the Distance
Over the chicken wire, under the fence post, across the field towards the huddle of trees in the distance. My heart flutters as I follow, because I’m following her. There is a still hum to the field as bugs hang in the air. The grass is as high as my waist, and when I see her almost to the trees I rush too much and fall. My hand is scraped and little beads of blood sprout at the base of the palm. I stop for a moment in the lee of the grass where it is cool and even quieter.
When I get up she is gone. I resume my run, ashamed and cautious and heart fluttering heavier than before. Continue reading The Path
“I have good news and bad news, dear,” grandma says with a sly smile. “Bad news first: we’ve run out of jam for your muffin.”
I must look comically bereft. I’ve been visiting for a week and every morning I’ve had a pile of blueberry jam on an English muffin for breakfast. Grandma has offered pancakes, waffles, eggs, bacon; but I have stuck with the muffins and the jam.
“The good news is there’s more in the cellar. Just go down the stairs and on the left there’s some shelves. There’s pickled tomatoes and pickled cucumbers and peaches and blueberry jam. You can’t miss the jam because it’s dark blue.” The pours herself some coffee and sits down with a soft “oy” at the kitchen table. “Go on now.” Continue reading Spinners
I woke up about the time the steady thrum of the highway changed to the crackle of gravel. I pressed my forehead to the car window, hoping the nausea would pass away quickly. I started to roll down my window but mom cried out in alarm.
“Close that! It’s too dusty!” Continue reading Tea
I was a good kid. Never made any trouble. Mostly I sat with my forehead against the school bus window feeling the rumble of the engine transfer to my brain box.
My friend Mike was more of a troublemaker. He got into an argument one morning and punched another kid on the arm. It was not much of a punch, but the kid wailed and the harried bus driver stopped the bus. Her hair was like a cloud of angry bees. At least that’s how I remember it. When we got to school, Mike was sent to the principal, his face in a resigned grimace that showed his experience in this kind of situation. Continue reading Good Kid
June we go to visit my Aunt Jenna in the country. I like it because of the pond nearby. It’s shaped like a battleship. Just like a battleship. One side is long and straight and then it curves up to a point, like the prow of a ship. And the other side has all these little gullies that poke into the land, and that’s where we can pretend to be the sailors on the deck of the battleship. “Are the torpedoes prepared, Jeffrey?! Then fire torpedo one! Fire torpedo one!” Continue reading Battleship