IN THE HEYDAYS OF HIS EYES
(taut jeans dancing)

An Anthology of Poetry about Being Young and Growing Up
 
 
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CHUMLEY/TACONIC STATE PARK/1950

Maxine Silverman

I can hear her call him. "Ray, don't take the boy. It's not morning yet, and rainy. He'll catch his death or you'll have a wreck." But my father, mild as a rule, drives us across the Manhattan Bridge, the lights blurring in the rain, through the still dark city, upriver, to Route 22. Just the two of us. So excited, I can't speak, and he doesn't either. Each time the lightening cracks I can see his face, his large hands on the wheel. At Bish Bash Falls, Father baits my hook. He shows me how to cast. We keep quiet so the fish will bite. Later, we strip and swim. Then he takes me back to the narrow beach and tells me to wait there. As in a silent movie, my father swims, breast stroke, his head above water, sleek as an otter, toward the center of the lake. I am three years old and wait for him, awed how soundlessly he glides beyond reach of my voice, my longing for him a straight line between the fixed point of my heart and the back of his head. He dives, and for a moment I'm an orphan breathless and dumb until he comes up, a black rock out there. He pulls toward me. The silvery distance narrows. So I wait, learning to love what moves away and may return.

 
 
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