Say to me the word path, and I'll see the cut-through Mr. Mike and my dad made, clearing out brush and brambles, knocking down trees so Ben and Anna, my brother and I, could walk between houses and away from the road. Say path; I'll remember how private it was: tramped clean, ever after, by eight small feet.
Hear our happy voices; see our swinging arms. Nothing in the world better than walking through the woods to the house of a friend.
Say path, and I'll see my mother playing tennis, lifting her arm with its racquet in hopes of the return. We children danced away through hedges on a snaking line of dust. No one ever tried to snatch us or lure us with candy. An amphitheater and three playgrounds. Tetherball, crawling barrel tunnel, swings. Sand.
Say path, and I'll remember riding bareback from the meadow, her body barely fitting betwixt the narrow trees. I laid my head against her neck to duck the bending branches, and we belonged to one another. I've never been closer to God.
Say path, and I'll see my daughter running in the winter: her cheeks pink roses, her mouth an upward curve.
**writing in community with Amber and friends