Shouns, Tennessee 1961, by Debi Swim

Shouns, Tennessee 1961
by Debi Swim

I wish you and I could both be ten again, visiting the house where I grew up on a particular day that piled snow almost halfway to the bottom of the windows. We’d make a snowball and roll and roll till it was as big as we. I would run into the kitchen and sneak out grandma’s old butcher knife and wield it like a lightsaber cutting the round shape into an armchair, then sit down like the Snow Queen. You’d come forward as though to bend in obeisance but instead kiss me on the cheek then touch it with your tongue. I’d be completely shocked and ask why you did that. You’d say you wanted to see if it would stick like on a metal flag pole. I would hurl myself at you in mock outrage and we’d roll around in the snow, clumps sticking to us like frosting. But our cheeks would betray the lie of icy hearts with their cheery pinkness. And, you’d be my Kai and I’d be your Gerda, friends forever.

               Friends first make the best
               lovers in this lonely world
               You, Kai and me, Gerta

Process note: My sister, brother and I did this once, made a huge snowball and cut it into an armchair style throne. I was thinking about this today in a fit of nostalgia and the idea of sharing it with my husband.

Debi Swim poems in West Virginia mostly to prompts from around the net.

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