Swiftly slithering along the stone wall
my father built with his two hands, the
garter snake followed our journey
down the road to the school bus.
Past the swamp with skunk cabbage
and its distinct odor, past wild blueberries
hidden within its depths, my sisters and
I chatted along the mile of road.
Past Peter’s house, the boy who threw
the stone hitting me in the middle of
my forehead leaving an ugly lump.
Unprovoked and done because he could.
Past the pretty flowering apples trees
of the elderly lady who shouted from
behind curtained windows to stay off her yard.
At the end of Cedar Street was our bus stop.
Across from the Old Sturbridge Village.
Weather was hot this June day. My
second floor classroom with the wooden
floor creaked under our shoes. Inkwells awaited
our pens for penmanship class. Our teacher
stood in the middle…
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