—for Dr. David Maneval
Along the west branch of the Susquehanna, a boy held
his father’s hand, crept through the rhododendron thickening
along the shore, and stopped to talk with fishermen. His dad
taught him to ask where the fish were, assign tasks, do your share.
A boy scout, Dave grew strong like the mountain laurel skittering
along the talus ridges, running through the woods, the coppery
curls of the yellow birch quivering in his wake. As a man, he began
collecting degrees—bachelors, masters, a doctorate, and a passion for
mining from one summer in Alaska amid the spruce and birch. At
church, he found reverence and one of the smartest women he ever met,
so he married her. An RN, Lyne taught him things: how to deliver
babies, facts about the church or science, how to grow from two people
into a family of six, then greater still with grandkids. As a mining
engineer, he moved from Penn State to Harrisburg, DC to Alaska,
met Reagan, always found himself back by the streams, a passel
of kids beside him, scooping dirt and letting the water do its work.
Lyne sat tucked in her chair, foot on the stool, book in hand,
the sunlight a glaze along her skin, the tea cooling on the table
beside her. Outside, spruce flanked the house and the garden
waited for spring, the work of two weathered pairs of hands.
The mind, with its great ridges, catches in the pan
a remembrance of her, of children in sunlight, the snowy moose,
the rhododendron on a mountain stream, that gold shaken loose.
Whatever else is claimed by the current that which remains shines like truth.
©2022 by Camille-Yvette Welsch