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circle. By the time I turned to go out, the girls were already setting their towels by the side stoop. “Now, don’t go crazy. I don’t want any cavorting out here,” father said. I had come to translate "cavorting" as my father’s word for "having too much fun," an idea that I believed was rooted in his childhood in a coal mining town where being one of eleven children meant learning early the concepts, and weight, of duty, constraint, and limitation. With each pass through a segment of the outer ring of the wonderfully cold water, I grew less self conscious of my trunks and skinny legs. My runs grew braver until at last I walked slowly to the center of the circle and stood directly above the spinning silver head. The water whipped my legs with a delicious cold sting. I looked into the mesmerizing flick of twirling light, transfixed, transported. It was as though I was someplace else, not in the tiny back yard of our bungalow on a corner, not a part of a day that would, like so many other things, come only once, but someone else, somewhere else altogether. My father sat on the porch, watching. The glow from his cigarette lit his face behind the screens, but I couldn’t tell if he was smiling. The sun rose above the yard and touched us with a glaze, a sheen as we ran squealing through the sprinkler, tramping our shadows into the shining grass with every step we took. That was nearly sixty years ago. Today my sister still lives in that house. A maple tree I planted in the center of the yard when I was nine rises fifty feet above the small space where my father grew his garden, and where, when the sun dried the lawn in late summer, we cavorted in the old green sprinkler. It was a kind of baptism into the faith of limitation, the reading of the gospel of “be satisfied with what you get” in a world where joy was stolen from the hum of passing time. And though I never learned to swim, I love it at the ocean now, especially at night when diamond stars watch cold waves rush against my still-skinny legs, and I remember the purest sensation ever, running half-naked through the sprinkler on a hot summer day when the world went by and didn’t notice, didn’t see my stance against the dogma of the

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2017 Freshwater Literary Journal  
2017 Freshwater Literary Journal  

Professional literary journal produced at Asnuntuck Community College

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