A Family History
At dusk the girl who will become my mom must trudge through the snow, her legs cold under skirts, a bandanna tight on her braids. In the henhouse, a klook pecks her chapped hand as she pulls a warm egg from under its breast. This girl will always hate hens, and she already knows she won't marry a farmer. In a dim barn, my father, a boy, forks hay under the holsteins' steaming noses. They sway on their hooves and swat dangerous tails, but he is thinking of snow, how it blows across the gray pond scribbled with skate tracks, of the small blaze on its shore, and the boys in black coats who skate hand-in-hand round and round, building up speed until the leader cracks that whip of mittens and arms, and it jerks around fast, flinging off the last boy. He'd be that one—flung like a spark trailing only his scarf.
From Sleeping Preacher by Julia Kasdorf. Copyright © 1992 by Julia Kasdorf. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA 15261. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.