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What of miniature boats constructed of birch bark and fallen leaves, launched onto cold water clear as air? How many fleets were pushed out toward the middles of ponds or sent down autumn brooks, holding treasures of acorns, or black feathers, or a puzzled mantis? Let those grassy crafts be listed alongside the iron hulls that cleave the sea, for they are all improvisations built from the daydreams of men, and all will perish, whether from the ocean siege or October breeze.
I was ravenous for my child and took to gorging myself in the boneyard, hoping that she might possibly meet me halfway, or just beyond, one night, if only for an instant—step back into her own bare feet, onto the wet grass or fallen leaves or snowy ground of the living Enon, so that we could share just one last human word.
There is my father whispering in my ear, Be still still still. And yet you change everything. What was the marsh like, waiting for the storm before you came and kneeled in the water? It was nothing. Watch after you leave the water, now cold and regretful, miles from home, certain of the belt on your backside, the cold shoulder, the extra chores; watch. Watch the water heal itself of your presence--not to repair injury but to offer itself again should you care to risk another strapping [. . . ].