Nearly 9th Grade

While the girls swim and jump off the bridge, I read a chapter in a history of Vermont — same old, same old.

We’re in the long, slow, cricket-singing days, just before school starts. The garden is jammed full, the leeks a failure, the nasturtiums a mighty army colonizing beyond their territory.

The days are jammed, too, with all the pieces of work, crammed in with When will we paint the barn? Fix the car’s exhaust. Mark when property taxes are due on the calendar. — All things I consider so important but will have forgotten in weeks, perhaps months.

The girls lean over the bridge in the sunlight, talking quietly, glancing at me and wondering if I’m listening. I am. I’m watching and listening, until I dive in and swim away, with only the lapping water against my ears.

On a branch
floating downriver
a cricket, singing.
— Issa


By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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