When I was 4 & 5
I lived in a house my father built
in Top of the Ridge
next to a woods
200 feet above
the Little Miami River

I go back there
to sit on a fallen tree
I remember
climbing limber
young trees
maybe these
that have fallen
I climb high to make the tree lean over
lowering my toes to the ground
holding on, jumping as high as
the tree would take me,
the spring in its back
placing me back

I remember sitting on exposed rocks
pulling apart loose pieces;
shells, bones, coral: speaking their history
to my wide open ears
I was here. I am here
under these salt waters.
a small child finding her small place in time

dad left us
mom 5 months pregnant
with 5th child
I was 6
my only image is the
gone from the top shelf
of the closet
an empty space the size of a
paper grocery