Richard Hugo Sense of Place Award 2013

Learning

ON THURSDAY I bob up and down on the blue-bus seat like a seesaw in the park, the one we used to play on before running to the fire-truck red pole that you taught me to climb last week, saying it was a stepping stone to trees, as you brought me to the one in your backyard and bounced up the branches while I exclaimed in my mind how that tree was the sky, and you walked on the shadow of an autumn sunset, your feet shaking dry leaves to the ground like powdered sugar on those shortbreads I make, the ones we wolfed down after eating packaged noodles for garnish on celery-apple salad, the appetizer to tame us as we jumped around in the chicken nugget smell that permeated the kitchen the same way Santa-Claus wrappers multiply over floors on Christmas morning, a crumpled mess, similar to my hair on those mornings we all wish school was over, dragging our feet across the hallway until they break into a manic run after our last exam, skipping to your house while I ranted about summer chores, the weeding, the trimming, the picking of peach plums, which wasn’t too bad because I could make peach crumble pastries and eat them, bring the pan to the beach, run into you, so you could teach me how to walk barefoot on sand with a careless bounce and tippy-toe, and that’s how I slide past people in the crowd, tippy-toe and bounce, into the blue-bus seat.

gillian jose    
saanichton, british columbia, usa 

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