As she called on me to read 

aloud, a memory swirled warm 


like a summer breeze across the deep 

Atlantic: rocking on a black-and-white


checked chair by a gas fireplace

where my Mom opened Robert 


Frost and we memorized 

poems together. She sat 


close to the flames and melted 

a hole in her navy-blue


bathrobe. My red-haired

brother stuck silly-putty 


between the bricks of the fireplace 

and Mom made him scrub 


it clean with a toothbrush.

As we practiced the lines,


the baby slept and the toddler 

played with bright board books 


on the floor and we all ate

frozen Michigan blueberries


until our lips stained purple 

and we stuck out our tongues. 


Noel Vanderbilt

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