It’s either late late spring after it’s been so cold it hurts your skin
and now there’s flowers and warm air whooshing around everywhere--
or it’s the collapse into fall of stretching shadows yellow afternoons that turn into night at ten o’clock
and warm air whooshing around everywhere.
The air of course is friendly but winter is sleeping in everything.
Especially in the tall trees that are so deeply green they’re just about black.
In the house, clouds hoover over the furniture, black mold flowers in the bathroom,
and winter is in the dark carpet that has no real color,
and in the suicidal kitchen with its linoleum and flickering fluorescent.
I avoid the house.
Outside we’re drinking and smoking and barbequeing on a lawn that’s gone feral, where it sprouts little patches of whtie flowering clover and other almost beautiful shapes of weeds going to seed.
There are huge doug firs at the edges of the lawn and even a few growing up in the middle.
The earth never dries.
But im wearing a sundress and there is pale skin flashing everywhere around me, legs, thighs, biceps.
Where the lawn ends, the muddy embankment falls away to the Sound. The tide is out so far it must be a new moon. Or a full one.
We can see ridges in the mud that tell stories about the creatures that live there, only I don’t know yet how to understand them.
More drinking, smoking, barbequing. Do we ever eat? Voices roll around over the tall grass, around the living room and swirl around the couch.
Cars turn off and more voices join the pool. More drinking, smoking, and barbequing.
The water is rising.
There are noises about canoes. How many. Seats paddles plans tide, timing.
More drinking, smoking, barbequing.
I look down at the shiny water, pieces of sky flickering next to the paddle.
We’re crossing the sound.
Something about the island. An abandoned house.
Oh yeah that’s why we’re here. We heard crackly boombox music coming from the upper story of the old house, and we’re here to investigate.
To haul out a hobo. To puff our chests. To something.
I stick my finger in the water. I trail it and it starts to numb.
Someone is behind me in the canoe doing all the work.
All of our boats, three or four of them, ease into a nook against the grassy shoreline and bob with the tiny waves we made.
We tie the canoes to a tree that I don’t what it is.
We’re almost to the house when the music stops cold.
No one wants to go in.
We linger around the boarded up front door, high stepping over potentially scary garbage: diapers, squished batteries, weird plastic.
If some people go in I don’t know about it or care.
I am looking up in awe. I have found my calling.
There are hundreds of them shining off the bright gray sky and the bright flickering sound.
I fill my shirt. My backpack.
I try to climb up in one but they’re skinning trees and it feels wrong.
Someone shouts and we run back to the canoes as the water is vacuumed back towards the ocean. We veer right and left right and left,
fighting the current
and spitting cherry seeds into the deep.