ON THE WAY
Summer heat moves all the kids to dream of Tastee Freez.
Ice cream shop down a country road is subtle magic.
The crick flows all the way down the hollow
as it rambles down through Victory
on its way to meet the Yough in Sutersville.
We’d take the same route to the Tastee Freez,
promise of a cool heaven
at the confluence of crick and river.
Past Pat’s house, where the crick dips under the road next to the firehall,
is a child-high wall of concrete.
Someone (we blamed BJ, the Big Kid)
had left minnows to die and dry in the sun.
Silver grey scales split open,
little white bones inside.
Eyes round, black, staring.
A country child knows about death.
We see road kill bloated and lying in the sun,
flies swarming on dried blood.
We see dead carcass in the forest,
bleached skulls of deer.
The empty eye sockets of those dead minnows
left a cold, uncanny chill in my gut,
like I’d swallowed an ice cube whole.
Not five feet away was a telephone pole,
the very one where tractor would meet wood,
and crush my father, several summers later.
The very same spot.
Bottom of Skillet Hill.
Crick rushes underground,
and the shadow dwells,
and the minnows stare,
dead eyes seeing all.
( Chani Zwibel is a graduate of Agnes Scott College, who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but now dwells in Marietta, Georgia, with her husband and their dog. She is an associate editor with Madness Muse Press. She enjoys writing poetry after nature walks and daydreaming.)
The Beautiful Space-