Memory of the River…
Barefoot children running along a path of
sun dappled earth and rocks,
flying by on the warm summer breeze…
We can smell the river getting closer, closer till-
Our excitement reaches its peak and we can keep our clothes on no more,
not wearing much to begin with.
We laugh as t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops (at most),
go flying into the bushes to hang precariously upon birch tree snags and poison oak-
We discern not,
in the throughs of our sheer delight.
We are gypsy children-
Bred of our parents drunken camp nights, love children-
The best kind, always meant to be
or not to be…
That we are is all that matters to us-
We run naked into the river and don't hesitate,
right in to the green river to scream and laugh in shock.
Everything is this extreme for us.
Our joys, our sorrows, fears and wonders,
Right now, right here.
Never a thought for tomorrow…
We swim like frogs, and those of us who don't learn quickly.
We teach each other,
with a patience that belongs only to those
for whom time is of no essence or consequence
Soon the tingling of limbs fades into a pleasant numbness
Which tricks us into thinking we are warm now-
and have some how won a small victory over the river
Who would selfishly seek to keep us out and enjoy its roiling depths without us.
Lucky river, who gets to be here all the time.
Now it is the air out there that is really the villain, we must to stay in all day to avoid the end of the weightless freedom…
The sanctity of the womb of the river,
that can take an hour and stretch it so far,
and yet make it seem but a moment.
Just moments ago…
"Lets pretend there are sharks in the deep end," I say,
"Don't worry Ill rescue you, here grab this stick!"
"Float on your back like me!"
-Ops I went too far, I'll have to swim all the way back now,
Under the water were mermaids, I see fish…
What's that?! It looks like a snake, an eel?
We get out fast now, whew!
Capturing pollywogs in an empty beer can; how many can we fit in there, how many will survive?
Holding tree frogs-or rather them clinging all over us,
-One, two, three, four where'd that other one go?
Here it is under my arm, it tickles…
We laugh until one becomes still-
Why does one always do that?
We don't believe in death yet,
So here well let you go,
Why won't you hop away?
I'll just put you here, on this big warm leaf
you'll perk up when I'm not looking,
I know you will.
Why are you so dry and limp?
Not as slick and cool as you were when I found you?
It s not our fault you aren't as invincible as us,
Anyways we have to dress now.
We don our sun-warmed rags scented with the smell that is this place-
Is that my other sandal?
Oh, no, it's yours-
There's mine over there, partly hidden by that rock.
A mothers' call-
" Its time to eat! Dinners ready you kids!"
We're almost dressed,
my shirt is rolling up as I try to pull it down over my cold wet belly,
it'll dry on me though, I'm in a hurry, I have to catch up!
Everyone else is dressed already and heading back to the camp.
I might miss something, what I don't know…
But gypsy children must do everything together, everything.
"Theirs still sand on your hands, go wash it off in the river!"
We all inspect our hands for the offensive presence, "Yes me too!"
Bare foot children run along a familiar path,
Dappled by deep aging sunlight and shadows,
As evening seeps in…
Lets all go down to the river together,