Issue 11, December 2013
{ Summer, 1960 }
by Kathryn Weld
Spinsters, couples, and families 
came and went. There were the field, the lake, 
and old Ted Peete who fixed things, told me tales 
of hunting bear, the lore of silent paddling 
so a man might stalk a deer at dusk. I was six. 
My mother pregnant and confined to bed,
I belonged to my father, a quick and slender man 
who hoisted his ax with vigor and taught me to stay 
beside my capsized canoe. By his decree 
I read for sixty minutes every morning. 
When released, I lived in burnished skin, 
ate wild berries, noticed the smallest toads: 
collected in a mustard jar they turned black 
and wrinkled overnight. I paddled solo, 
sipped foxglove nectar, climbed inside the hollow 
stump. I led my cousins, invisible, up 
the forbidden roof, or on missions to pee on Granddad's 
asparagus. I darted through sun but lingered 
in shade. My palms and fingers turned black from pitch 
stained with Adirondack sand. My father 
dissolved the black with alcohol he kept 
for shaving, each afternoon before I changed 
into my dress and cardigan for supper.
    

Kathryn Weld is a mathematician and a poet living just north of New York City. She teaches at Manhattan College. She still spends summers in a rustic family home in the Adirondacks. She received her M.F.A. from Sewanee School of Letters and her Ph.D. (in Algebraic Topology) from the CUNY Graduate Center. She was a finalist in the Gearhart Poetry Contest.