Explorers Circa 1982

Selective focus photo of grass in forest


You have little memory of that year,
our last under the same roof.
We lived near the wild–
a creek streaming through,
tributary of the Mascoma River.
Together we discovered new lands

in Champlain’s Atlantic footsteps.
Brother, you and I wandered those woods
all summer and fall until first freeze.
Up and down we traipsed.

Sharp left to avoid our chores. Tree shadows,
our cozy fort without walls or doors.
Once you erected a homemade flag,
staked your claim after fending off attackers.

We crossed and re-crossed our creek,
water sluicing over each stone
and seeping into our shoes.
Sometimes I carried you piggyback,
your four-year-old lanky legs dangling,
your twig arms tight around my neck.

Back home, we marked fur trading routes
on the map Daddy gave us.
All before the dinner bell.

Before I left you for college.

Forty years later, we text or talk
on birthdays and holidays.
I wonder if this is how parenting feels.

Last summer I found our house,
but not our playground. The woods–long gone.


Poem by Dee Susong


Dee Susong is a teacher, poet, and musician who lives in Austin, Texas. Her poems appear in Waxing & Waning, The Texas Poetry Calendar 2019, The Ghazal Page, di-verse-city, The Red River Review, Blue Hole, and The Enigmatist.