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July 2017, vol 13 no 2

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Peter Newton

The Rainbow Princess

By all accounts, her childhood was marked by free-wheeling adventure having lived most of it on a sailboat. The only child of a hippie mother and a scholar father, she was raised with sink-or-swim values. The kind of kid who learned early to trap her own rainwater, eat what was on the line and be grateful for her western hemisphere life expectancy.

She thrived through high school, bounded through college, then grad school. Enamored of the ideal, she became a teacher armed with her father's theories and ruminations and her own quick wit. She shared his abiding love of Nick Adams stories, the restorative powers of the Big Two-Hearted River and circus peanuts.

From the cover of her last book of stories stares a child wearing a candy necklace. She's taking a bite out of it while the dyed sugar beads stain her neck red, yellow, pink and green. She was the girl with chocolate eyes. I see that now. Unafraid of returning anyone's gaze. A mischievous look that flowered into fearlessness. A sense of driving too fast with one hand while probably doing something else. Grace under pressure, Hemingway liked to call it. Together, we dreamed of living long and lettered lives.

morning glories
trumpeting the sun
ribbons on chain link