For a week we live in the rounded belly harbor
of a cabin in the woods on a lake with a dock
and a tree-lined horizon, sand castles crumbling
overnight next to bright pink shovels and a wet
towel turban left behind in a hurry for marshmallows, 
chocolate and maybe graham crackers, the right
amount of sweet especially if my nephew roasts
them; he will be on his way to college this time
next year; he burns them a bubbly golden brown
like caramel, like his hands and face from working
in the boatyard, except for his feet which are still
whiter than whipped sugar; his dad palms him a
beer which he drinks slowly, holding it by the neck
like a bugle; water slaps the hull of a boat; a
descending mooniness fills the open spaces, 
fluttering the birds on the branches which tweet, 
rustle and chirp in the night kitchen where my nieces
and I sit at the polished plank table playing spoons; 
twin girls aged seven they kneel growing bones on two
southwest chairs angled close together; my mother, 
ever present at the table, helps with the rules which
they understand with propped elbows, fanned cards: 
the game begins. Their eager blue-grey eyes wait
for cards passed one by one in the four-cornered
suits: clubs, spades, diamonds, hearts; upside-down
smiles the quick study way they sneak spoons, leaving
me spectacularly spoonless; oh, auntie, the nieces
and nephew say, acknowledging our connection, 
the smooth shine slipped under the arms.

© Tori Grant Welhouse