The land is in pools, mirrors. As if there were a flood and only islands remain, islands with the trees from my earliest memories–the wild apple blossoms, their pink and white petals falling like snow. I imagine him under there, in the shade of the silky blossoms, leaning back on an arm, picking blades of grass, his long legs muzzled in by the sweet alysum growing. His blue eyes look up through their long, long black eyelashes–the lashes I’ve inherited–and into the blossoms, into the purple sky. His reflection is still on the water. Peace. He’s found peace. He still wears the cream colored shirt with the brown vees from the shoulders to the chest, heavy in his strange scent that I can still smell if I remember really hard.
The white farmhouse, falling apart and filthy, stood on a sunken, lush lawn with wild apple trees that snowed pink petals. He built us a swing under one of them, taking turns going higher and higher into the pink fragrance. There was a hammock tied between the two trees and we spent afternoons lulled in it by the bees, fat and humming. We picked from the plum tree, he pulled us in a wagon behind the rider lawnmower, we climbed ancient tractors, we walked in the fields with the big, round hay bales. There was a pig in small barn, I loved the thick mud and even the suffocating smell. Family came and went as if they’d never grown up and left home. Most of them were alcoholics, some of them were borderline pedophiles but they were eventually pushed out of the circle. My grandpa Leo was an old white haired man with a huge gin blossom nose, sitting in his chair. Drinking. The kitchen was warm and old, with a large wooden fork and spoon above the oven. My grandma Helen had chipped, blue China plates. The floor rolled in hills and we road our trikes around. I don’t remember him ever leaving our side on those weekends he had us. Continue reading