I need you to do exactly what I say. Take your seatbelts off. Get down
on the floor in front of your seat. Hold your head over your knees. We’re ok.
We’re going to be fine. Just stay right there. Don’t lift your heads.
The cows are going the other way. They’ll be fine. I will tell you when it’s ok
to sit up again. I brought my girls with me on photo shoots.
I didn’t let them beyond the fence, but they watched
from the other side, handing me a different lens, a camera bag
hanging from their small shoulders. The sky wasn’t right this time.
I yelled at them to get away from the fence, to get inside
my station wagon. Go. I’m coming. Get in the car, girls, close the door.
We are 42 acres. We are old-growth white pine. We are
hemlock. We are centuries. We were purchased in 1883
to prevent logging. That day destroyed us. We became
a study sight for ecological restoration. We protected you
all those years.
I remember thinking those trees went on and up
forever and that they didn’t have tops. I remember us,
in your Dad’s ’47 baby blue Citroen convertible, on our way
to the West Cornwall Village Memorial Day Parade, our hair wild
around us. Or at night, in your mom’s carpool car,
headlights like lanterns moving through the night together.
How it must have looked from out by the white church
and the open stretch of road.
SARAH ANDERSON holds an MFA in poetry from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers. She has 15 years of high school teaching experience. With her husband, she owns and operates The Word Barn in Exeter, NH, a gathering space for literary and musical events, where she runs a reading series as well as writing workshops. Her poems have appeared in various journals, including December Magazine, The Café Review, North American Review, and Raleigh Review.