By: Jim Bates
Northwoods lake country
Water glistening waves lapping
Hot sun scorching sand
On the beach playing.
Big brother in charge of younger siblings
Momentarily distracted by building a sandcastle
Baby Will toddles out onto the dock stumbles and falls off sinking fast
Big brother runs to help but the water’s too deep.
“Mom!” he yells. “Help!
She runs from the cabin and jumps in
Pulling baby Will quickly to safety
Still clutching his Arrowroot cookie.
Alone later that evening
Big brother sits on the dock
Toes dangling in dark waters swirling
Thinking heavy confusing thoughts
Nearly crushed by this first exposure
To the miniscule distance
Between living and dying
Life and death
A soggy cookie clutched like a lifeline
In his brother’s frantic hand.