In the Ozark mountains, our mountains, we fell, we bled, and we scarred.
Piles of sticks, dried insect bodies,
the hardened emerald wings of June bugs,
paper-thin skins of fat black snakes & dirt dauber homes,
stalks of asparagus, cow patties hardened in the sun.
We collected it all.
Their armored bodies moved backwards, a distorted blur under the water. We raised rocks inch by inch as we squatted in the shallows of the Little Mulberry River, waiting to spot streaks of mottled orange. The key was to grab the crawdads behind the head so that their pincers swung about wildly but failed reach our fingers. In preparation for the catch, my cousins, my brother, and I constructed small rock pools. If there were tadpoles around, we caught them too, cupping their translucent-jelly bodies in our water-filled hands.
“I just wanted time to make art,” said my dad of why he moved to the Ozark Mountains. We laid on the cool concrete floors of his pottery studio during the summer and ate his clay.
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