Lau­ren­tian Suite

The Walrus - - CONTENTS - By Su­san Glick­man

The land­scape of my child­hood was ob­sti­nate— slabs of rock and stunted pines, lakes spiked with white­caps — but it had a sin­gu­lar mu­sic:

white-throated spar­rows in the morn­ing, loons across the water at night, buzz of hum­ming­birds, twang of frogs pluck­ing the stalks of water hy­acinth.

Devil’s paint­brush, corn­flow­ers, Queen Anne’s lace, vetch and but­ter­cups sparkled in the long wet grass. We wove them into gar­lands at tem­ple and neck, car­ried home bou­quets that al­ways died en route.

We wanted to bring ev­ery­thing home: rasp­ber­ries sweet as maple sugar from Madame Piotte’s store where we walked af­ter sup­per to pick up the mail (Madame Piotte, whose var­nished zig­gu­rat

of hair we be­lieved housed poi­sonous spi­ders), snails striped like beach um­brel­las, im­pos­si­bly small toads whose jour­neys be­tween our feet made us colossi, sun­nies and perch,

bony fish we didn’t like eat­ing but in­sisted our mother cook be­cause we had caught them our­selves and oth­er­wise their sac­ri­fice was mean­ing­less.

City kids, those sum­mers re­minded us that we were an­i­mals, with an­i­mal ap­petites, cu­ri­ous and cruel, made of bone and mus­cle and nerve

the way the land was made of rocks and trees and water.

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