Stepping Back

by Norma Bradley

is stepping onto the dock
my father built on Walton Lake,
surrounded with algae, chirping
frogs, wind through shrubby brush,

one orange lily. My feet dangle
in chilly water. Across the lake small
houses cluster like barnacles.
Lifting the branch of the maple

I see the old sign nailed to its trunk.
Remember Dad’s hand holding
a paintbrush slowly moving across
the board spelling Chestnut Acres.
An arrow pointing to the grove ─
shadowing the front lawn.
Hearing the squeak of the water pump
I fill a jug ─ carry it to the walled

garden, open the iron gate, walk
slowly on its narrow twisting path ─
a jay winging on a branch. I see one
plump fruit drop.

Kneeling, I pull a weed,
the smell of damp earth
of the Catskills rises
from its roots.

Norma Bradley, poet and multimedia visual artist, fell in love with the rhythm and melody of words after hearing her neighbor read a poem when she was fourteen. She started writing poems and has spent her career as a teaching artist sharing her passion for poetry and visual arts. Honors include participation in the NC State Visiting Artist Program and a fellowship at the Hambidge Center. Her chapbook, Ghosts Rip Free, is forthcoming.