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January 2, 2022

father figures

Aubri Kaufman

while at the lake,[*] I discover clay can be excavated with two bare hands, but four[†] are better, so my sister and I wade in, clothes and all, basting our skinned knees in the runoff, cool and calm.[‡] elbow-deep, we search the silty bank[§] for the wall. when we find it, we tunnel— holding our breath[**] until we realize we can actually breathe underwater.[††] this morning, we packed the glove compartment with plastic bags, intending to carry the clay[‡‡] home, carve a keepsake: an ornament, a key, but now we know we’re better off nestled here, inside, sealed up under the copper crust.



[*] your funeral
[†] six would have been exceptional (eight was always reaching)
[‡] until you pretended to drown, leaving me to frantically search for a stick long enough to try to pull you out. I was ten.
[§] I borrowed this from you; I hope you don’t mind.
[**] so you wouldn’t hear us eavesdropping
[††] we couldn’t
[‡‡] just one, pure memory of you, goddamnit