“Tender Waters” was originally published in Vol. 1 Brooklyn. Below is a short excerpt:
All summer long we went skipping stones, my sister and I. And we held hands, down through the trees that we called the gatekeepers of the river. And we kept our bodies close and those two hands hidden as if they were watching. When winter came, it was cotton on cotton, no more skin on skin, the trees covered in snow, blind and white like the skin of a child, our arms swinging out in the open. We kept our coats heavy with rocks, the smooth ones, ones we had run our fingers over to make sure the flatness was flat enough and the curves were curved right. In the winter we called it skating, not skipping, flicking those things low and spinning to see how far they could hiss along the ice, always trying to get them out of sight.
You throw like a girl, my sister said to me. And I did.
I throw like a man, she said, her hair in her eyes. We were young then, and she did.
Watch me, she said.
It was that in-between between summer and fall, then. And I watched her. In that moment before the toss, she looked like she was speaking to the water, calming it. How it laid itself flat and still for her. Like you could walk upon it. Like you could walk upon it and it would be solid.
Devin Kelly earned his MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. His collaborative chapbook with Melissa Smyth, This Cup of Absence, is forthcoming from Anchor & Plume Press. His poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Gigantic Sequins, Armchair/Shotgun, Post Road, RATTLE, The Millions, Appalachian Heritage, Midwestern Gothic, The Adirondack Review, and more, and his essay “Love Innings” was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He co-hosts the Dead Rabbits Reading Series in Manhattan, teaches Creative Writing and English classes to high schoolers in Queens, and lives in Harlem. You can find him on twitter @themoneyiowe.
Image: flickr/Maja Dumat