My seventh summer takes me back to muddy cliff banks,
down a forgotten trail in the woods through a place called The Island.
cut away by the current sweeping 'round the bend.
It was our secret place,
unhindered by the reservations of adults.
We dove those cliffs,
into the rage, grabbing at roots and log-jams
to keep from being swept away
to a place where children don't dive into rivers,
but drown in them ... like grown-ups said they would.
I remember laughing ... excited and scared ...
being dared ... to do a backflip
or a cannonball.
I remember my dad ... finding out what we'd been doing all summer.
My brother ... being summarily executed for it ... in my mind
Myself ... too young to know better ... in dad's mind
And all those summer days that will never be again.
Cliffs that grow and change over time.
I'm looking at them now,
though, from the other side of the river,
and the span of air between me and those cliffs is as all the years between
that time ... and this.
Not empty ... just passed,
waiting for my memory to conjure a picture in the space.
When it warms, I'll take my canoe across
and see if I can find that little boy ... standing on the edge of a cliff
And if he's still there,
I'll dare him to do a backflip