The River's a Partioner
Tom Sheehan
Dangers are everywhere about the river, much of them near both ends of the forked pathway behind the fire station finally built 42 years ago, in 1972, my nephew the steel boss, the last girder snapped into place with a bang. Within quick sight there is the porous bog whose underworld has softened for centuries, the jungles of cat-o-nine tails leap up from it. Once, six new houses ago, one new street along the banking, two boys went to sea on a block of ice. They are sailing yet, their last flag a jacket shook out in dusk still hiding in Decembers every year. An old man has strawberry plants in his nearby backyard. They run rampant part of the year. He planted them the year his sons caught the last lobster the last day of their last storm. Summers, strawberries and salt mix on the thick air. A truck driver, dumping snow another December, backed out too far and went too deep. His son stutters when the snow falls. His wife hung a wreath at the town garage. At the all-night diner a waitress remembers how many times she put dark liquid in his coffee. When she hears a Mack or a Reo or a huge cumbersome White big as those old Walters Snow-Plows used to be, she tastes the hard sense of late whiskeys. He had an honest hunger and an honest thirst, and thick eyebrows, she remembers, thick, thick eyebrows.

First published: February, 2014
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