This evening’s installment is part one of a three-part prose/poem about the creek of my boyhood. I’ll post the middle and last parts tomorrow. Feedback and comment is invited.
Our creek was not like the ones in the books
There was no waterfall, no deep blue hole, no long placid runs
like those in the calendar pictures.
Ours was just behind the back yard
and through a thicket of sumac and brambles,
vines and nettles
and poison ivy
I had to crawl through.
This was the snaking strip of land
That defied development
A steep drop into that narrow ravine
Beyond the power of any man’s mower.
Why did I ever think it worthwhile to skinny through all of that, just to see that measly trickle
except that when I entered that vale I vanished from the world.
There were no fish, not even a minnow, though I searched every puddle and suspected that the older boys might have known something I didn’t; might have gone farther and found a secret place.
We younger boys gave names to the biggest rocks. I found this under the skillet rock. Me and Rex turned over the grand-dad rock. Didn’t find nothin’.
When I remembered, I brought a coffee can with me. Red Folgers with a dangerously sharp rim. I put in moss, leaves and sticks and half an inch of water and there I kept my prizes: crawfish, the salamanders we called lizards and now and then some strange, eyeless creature that no one could name.