Yesterday Summer
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“Yesterday Summer,” Ensign, Oct. 1972, 96

Yesterday Summer

The creek’s still here—

we called it crick, and skippers

skate where water lies in pockets

near its edge,

just like before.

I was leaving childhood

when last I left the graveled road

and started down this path,

so narrow now.

It was then all worn and soft,

with thick warm dust

that flew in puffs

and caught each step

as we went running by.

I show my little ones

the tree that spread

its dark and speckled shade

across me then—

and spreads it still.

We tore fine horses from its limbs,

I tell them,

with great leafy tails,

that reared

and pawed the air at our command.

So they must try it too.

They mount and ride away

and then return,

and, with a shout,

they ride away again.

Were mornings longer then?

It seemed they lasted days,

the summers, years;

and time was broken

into larger pieces.

We didn’t think of hours;

they moved along so warm and slow

that we forgot

to notice them

at all.

The children, hot and dusty from their ride,

want to wade.

“May we?” they ask,

and I, remembering heat and dust,

say, “Yes, let’s.”

The chilly splash is still the same—

it throws itself against our legs;

and rocks, not seen,

are, as before,

still smooth and cold.

They laugh as I come wading too,

for they see me as years away,

but this, to me, is yesterday,

just yesterday.