When on an unseasonably warm Sunday in February you take your children to the beach and find yourself unexpectedly pining for the home of your childhood, where there was no beach and the only water was the dammed brown rivers and reservoirs and the only stone was the gravel on parking lots and unpaved roads, but at least it warmed more quickly in the spring. You remember every Easter being rife with greens and yellows and new baby chicks whose adult heads you would eventually cut off and watch red spatter frantically over the soiled stump that autumn, whereas March in the Northeast is a month of grays and Easter is a day to plant peapods in your 11x7 garden box that you hope might grow and hatch green before being burnt off by the sudden onset of city summer. But now, on this blue-hued day, you gather clam shells that your daughters will paint and sell in front of their grandparents’ house after you leave them here, and your youngest daughter, as you are leaving, will stifle sobs long enough to say she’ll miss you, then place a tiny crab claw, faded from the winter, into your hand and say, This is to remember me.

AuthorJohn Proctor