jmm

Swimming Lessons

Spirit Lake was covered in thick wisps of steam that lent to its name. A fog drifted around the upturned rowboats and shaky dock that had been there since we were kids. The fog pooled and spread and slipped around us. We slinked into the rowboat and the warm water bogged and recoiled against the hollow tin. I watched Mike’s silhouette against the backdrop of scattered diamonds, turning down the lantern, barefoot on the dock. He handed me the coffee and poles and untied us. We dipped in and over the water. The oars screeched and creaked. We went slow, listening to the oars and to the fish that flopped from the surface. I told him I’d row. The night before, at the fire, I saw his wrists and ankles were swollen ends to his skinny limbs.
“Nah, maybe later.” He breathed in deep. A loon landed close to our boat and we watched it. Its call echoed across the black lake. We sat and fished.
“Hey Amos, you know what?” The cigarette between his lips smoked into his eyes and he squinted and rowed a ways, leaning back. “Even with all the pain, all the….shit, all that I can’t do and will never do—all the shit you’ve been through–all the fucking hell, you know? I don’t think I’d change a damn thing—about life.”
It was a common, out-of-nowhere comment, both of us always comfortable enough to speak our hearts and minds at random. But this time it stopped me. The water bogged against the side of the row boat; I could hear the blue gill slapping against each other in the krill.
My mind instantly went through a million conversations between us—both of us thinking we’d never make it—him physically, me mentally. All the tears and the begging for help from God, yet to each other, over the phone. The late-night conversations beginning with his cooking advice and my musical barrages, to astronomy and philosophy and what Gram’s death meant. I saw my best friend, hardened and beautiful, the wild, charming blond boy who forever steals my heart. He hadn’t broken, nothing was taken from him. He had grown into a man in such a short time, and I still believe there is nothing he can’t do. And he made me feel–in a large moment of my life–brave and strong, like a person of substance—like him.
He looked over at me, one eye still squinting in the smoke.

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Something Like That

He is the bass stripped down to a dark rhythm that hums to the backdrop of city lights and black and white urban streets and alleys, somewhere foreign to me…

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Not to Touch the Earth

I’m standing on the roof of a four-story building downtown in a city. I’ve just taken Ecstasy. I don’t feel ecstasy. I feel what I learned later to be verging…

dreamyphoto89

The Letters

THE LETTERS Erica’s in a rectangular room with one-hundred and four strangers–people sitting in a semicircle, some in chairs, some standing against the walls, all facing Sobonfu Some, “keeper of…

lostinthevalleygrandma

A Moment with Grams

It was a late Spring afternoon.  Mike and I sat across from grandma on the back porch in the shade, the hanging baskets of mixed pansies   fragrant on a…

An Old Essay

I found my flashdrive from college back in 08′ and I found this piece.  I wrote it when all my essays and poems and stories began spilling out in college…

littledearprints

Be Prepared

I read a beautiful essay in Huff Post Parents on The Blog entitled “A New Season” by Lindsey Mead (on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and her blog–A Design So Vast).  And…

Found Something

I was going through old writings and essays from college and I found a paragraph I just might use for my book’s intro (oddly enough, my book is going to…

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Eleven Years

I was coming back from my appointment at my psychologist’s this afternoon. Its a fifteen minute drive along Lake Superior in the country, through the changing leaves of fall, sun…