He arrived with a pack
of yogurt in plastic tubes
and nuts rattling
in their shells. Our children
ran to the creek. I didn’t know
his middle name and he didn’t know
my sister’s first and neither
of us saw the way the earth sloped
to a gulley until we stumbled
on two lost soccer balls
caught in ropes of mud.
The stage was set
into the side of the hill.
He leaned against me. I called out
mirror. He called out washing machine.
The children’s arms banged
against weathered boards.
It seemed so easy
to find a game, to play
to breathe and fill
bellies. I love these the girl said.
Nut splitting free. Salt licking
foreheads and beading on lips. No one kissed
yet. We took turns holding a dixie cup
motionless in the water to catch minnows
flitting just out of reach. We all believed
it could work,
this falling together
like a shell hinging shut
again, like a seed