In the Eden of memory,
the black walnut tree has not been cut down
and waves its fern-like leaves above their heads.
The schoolmates make their way
from grove to pool, throw off
their colored shirts, raise their thin
white arms, white as seashells,
thin as piccolos, and dive.
Their towels draped around their necks,
they wander through the garden
where the mother’s sweet voice
quavers and eddies among
the low grasses, the flowering dogwoods.
Ease my burden, she calls,
know my terror,
and they lie down under the branches,
green-shadowed. That is how
I remember it: the many blossoms,
the little fallen soldiers.