Colebrook’s Cold Brook
The green shoots of skunk cabbage
pierced the matte of brown leaves,
the winter carpet, water-weighted layers.
I waited for the stripes of pungent animals.
Instead, bugs as light as air ran on water.
The touch of their feet flashed
as they strode through sun rays,
between shadows of limbs,
of ash and birch and poplar.
A slippery rock became my throne,
complete with mossy sponge.
The brook streamed to either side,
dampened my hand-sewn shorts,
numbed my feet. I forced my heels
to freeze while I read a rippled book
about the Byzantines who banged
their molten gold as thin as leaves.
Yellow maple hands fell from a higher
realm, a sunny meadow set above
the rotting tree-trunk hollow.
My father’s voice called my elfin name.
I scraped my naked feet free of ferns,
cleaned the wet debris from wrinkled skin,
said goodbye to magic bugs
and climbed the hard uphill.
Jeanne DeLarm-Neri grew up in Colebrook, CT, a town of 900 people, and learned to think about things at the side of a brook and under pine trees. Published in several journals and anthologies, nominated for a Pushcart Prize, she writes, sells antiques, and has stayed married for 32 years.