Thursday, November 13, 2008

An East River Runs Through It

It is always there, wide enough to drown people, narrow enough to understand what's on the other side. I think my aunt swam in it. and maybe an uncle too. It's where I'd go, little girl running down Grand Street with a home made kite made of construction paper in second grade. I was just sure the wind by the river would pick up the kite and make it fly just like in the story books. It was where the neighborhood flasher hung out, a man we all knew by sight (the taunting response we were all taught just in case: I thought that was penis but I'm not so sure). The place my parents walked the two of us running behind or in front. The river where my friends cast their sins during the High Holy Days. The river every one of my friends and me have family pictures of - her mom and dad when they were teenagers, my mom and dad just married, her little sister in a stroller, my big sister sitting on my dad's knee. The river I just know as a part of my body, my air, my street, my life and the one I still cross on mid-night ferry rides sometimes seeking solace and comfort from a life fraught with grief and other times just a need to return back to the smells of home, the briny water, the shore front shapes, the feel of the ferry's wake, the sounds I know like I know my heartbeat, or footsteps or that small moan when delight surprises.