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April 2015, vol 11 no 1

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Doris Lynch

Our Mythic Past

We were wild, not to be messed with – skinny, plucky daredevils. If the wind tangled the rope swing up a high oak, we'd climb up and unsnag it, then zoom down over the abyss. Only our muscly arms and the wide knot under our bums kept us from smacking the forest floor. If stallions trotted by in a nearby field, we'd entice them over to the fence, feed them baby carrots, then leap onto them and ride them bareback. When the river ice needed to be tested, one or all of us would step onto it, lowering and spreading our bodies so not to break through its speckled surface. We were sewer rats, spelunking the culverts of Center Square Queen, until the school nurse demanded to know why our persistent rashes would not heal. We'd dive off the highest quarry ledges where the high school kids stood quaking before giving up in fear (or common sense) and retreating back to grassy earth. Looking back, I guess we were running away from something – our ex-Marine father's leather belt and post-war tirades, or our mother's month-long depressions.

stolen matches –
the thick fog
from damp kindling