I remember the water and the wind —
in the Adirondacks,
in our small blue canoe.
I remember the child’s paddle in my hands,
with the muscles on my back and shoulders,
tense and pulsing,
with each stroke.
I was maintaining our position in the water
because I wasn’t strong enough yet
to move us forward
like Dad or Mom
I remember how the rain hit my small back
and stung each time,
like bee stings.
And I remember fighting
the two-foot waves that splashed
over and into our blue canoe.
I remember feeling so powerful,
even though a good wave could flip us,
and even though I was five,
I felt strong.
I felt strong among the storm,
among the bee-sting rain,
among the sharp wind,
among the two-foot waves that soaked me,
among my little sister, three years old and scared.
And I remember being within all that chaos,
and thunder and lighting,
and tense muscles,
and strong paddle strokes,
and pumping blood,
I was immersed in the water and the wind.
And I was