by Rebecca Schumejda

He says, “there is water all around us,”
a half dozen times, my great uncle
points out the living room window
at ponds and streams
framing his Adirondack property.

The foundation of the farmhouse,
where he and his late wife
brought up nine children,
is all that is left of razed memories.

“We brought our belongings
over to this house in wheelbarrows,”
he chuckles. I look out the window
behind him; the snow, at this altitude,
is merciless. Surely, our boot prints
will have vanished by the time we leave.

I wonder if he even knows who I am,
Hope’s daughter I remind him,
I don’t say Doug’s daughter anymore,
not since my father passed on.
Even the names of loved ones
get pulled out with the tide.

As he fiddles with his sideburns
he tells us how he was going
for a haircut today,
but the girl who cuts his hair
was killed last night while she slept.

“A truck drove right through
her bedroom, a bad curve,”
he repeats this story several times,
then points his bony finger
at the ponds and streams again,
and says, “must have been icy out.”