We stood on the banks of the river and watched the geese float down river. Pink petals from the cherry tree upwind floated through the air and caught a ride on the current, continuing downstream, powdered sugar on a frosting. Ducks tutted on the rocks near us: a mother nudged awkward puffs into the water, squaking out directions like a kindergarten teacher who had spent too much time with candy-fueled kids. We watched the clouds drag across the sky, cotton candy that made our mouths water as we waited for summer to emerge from springtime, the himalayan effort of the world to pass from birth to life.


Nora’s father lugged an ax out to the garage. She stood on the porch steps and watched him, unused to seeing him work with his hands. Usually he wore crisp khaki pants that spread neatly across his hind-end, flattened from years of sitting behind a desk. He kept his voice low, and the volume decreased as the pressure–at home, at the firm, in traffic–rose, so that Nora only flinched when he started to curse under his breath. His muttering made her nervous. She wondered what he would do with this decidedly outdoorsy implement, this tool of gruff lumberjacks. She imagined woodsmen in flannel shirts, rough beards, heavy boots, whooping and hollering as a tree fell in the forest. She watched her father’s jeans and his rubber muck boots disappear around the side of the garage. She leaned against the porch railing and listened. She had not spoken to her father in the hours that he had been on the farm, but she imagined that her grandmother had given him some instructions. Her vesuvian temper thundered through most of their conversations, anyway: the softer he got, the more she rumbled.