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Walking in my wet shoes on the way to Saturday, I had a bibbling buzzing buildup in my throat and as the gray sky darkened slowly was when I realized that feeling was the winter light internalized.

The sun has long since tucked away but everything’s bathed in residual rays, not a sound except our feet treading on through ice-crusted snow where no one has gone. Not in winter, not now, but they don’t know about the tree two miles in, and the tree’s treehouse.

No one’s dad had built it, this was all the kids. No secrets passed in some back yard can hold on to their lids. But no parents bothered venture far as distance unmeasurable by car. So blood pacts levied in this wood were the real thing, no goody-good. A thousand kids had made its climb, how could it not stand a test of time?

Let’s go—to the treehouse. Where we’ll know—that we can’t be found. Before—there were things between us. Before—we made the hard fall to the ground.

The only time in all their lives they could look down on someone six-foot five, and as long as passwords utter-ed, access gained and buttered bread for all the members in good standing and muddy water for the pledgelings and cakey dirt and wormy things and other vile sufferings that if you went and squealed about would banish you from the treehouse.

The treehouse now stands empty, a skeleton up the pine, but to its ghosts, its official hosts, there’s no such thing as time. And it may last forever, but if it falls to the wind, that pine will be chopped to timber and the treehouse will rise again.

I’d like to take you there one day, if I could only recall the way. The path is lost, the leaves are gone, maybe someday when the sunlight’s strong.


from Personnel Envelo​-​file (1997), released February 18, 1997




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