regarding apricots and antlers

What no one sees are the apricots, the extras brought to share before we put in to the river. A few floorboards down, a couple in their fifties are romancing between the antlers and the water buckets. Oblivion, oblivious, obvious. How close those words share space. No matter which way we look, there they are–the couple in need of a room instead of a raft. The one thing we all have in common: no one wants them on their raft. Funny what gets overlooked when we are busy trying to overlook something else.

I’ve just returned from whitewater rafting with my offspring and my son’s future in-laws. Someone asked why would I jump from a perfectly good raft: because I promised I would.

In the beginning there was water. And it was good. It didn’t matter if you had no change of clothes or nothing but a shop rag beneath the truck seat to dry off with afterwards. You jumped in because you must. If you didn’t, fear gained the upper hand. We had taught our son and daughter from the very start: Don’t let fear pin you down. When you find water, remove your shoes and jump.

Coming back from rafting, good news waited in my mailbox. My book, Cracking Geodes Open, is in a new staging area. Proofs are on the way and if we like what we see, books will soon be in our hands. Yes! Thank you, Aldrich Press.

A poem from the book and first published in The Literary Bohemian:

Between Daisy and Lulu Pass

 I’m not sure what to call
where he is. In Montana, anything not west
is back-east-of-here. But I need to fine tune
my directions-either north or south. I didn’t grow up
with such boundaries. I wonder
should he catch my thoughts, would he turn
and see I’m caught between memories. He wouldn’t know
of melted glaciers and craters of alpine heather, of the faint
wagon trail threading through 19th century fir to a legend
of a lake.  I once spent a summer, searching
for that water.  It was one hot blue day when I jumped in
with all my clothes on, imagining should I ever return, the skip
and holler from that day would still echo in the canyon. I want him
to hear that echo, I want him to make his own. Last time
I hiked this eroded path, he was what was gone.


About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website:

6 responses to “regarding apricots and antlers

  1. i don’t know why, but this poem – centered around a lacuna – creates a sense of existential loss. but there is also a layer of tactile imagery, the fir, the alpine heather, the glacier, that grounds it…

    and the water. yes, jump in.

    • redmitten

      amanda, it took me some years to understand this loss, and your comment blows me away that you have been able to define it so precisely in so few words. there are areas in montana that bring that sense of existential loss to me in such huge waves- it’s good to find that body of water and jump in. so good to hear from you.

  2. I am thinking that water jumping is metaphorical right? Cuz down South there are a lot of gators and one should be careful about seemingly quiet bodies of water. 🙂

    I am excited to get my first pendant “I’m not Prepared For This” – how did you know what belongs around my neck??

    • redmitten

      katy- fortunately we have no gators up here, so the jumping in is for real. there are stretches in the river between series of whitewater rapids where it is “safe” to jump in. and besides, you are soaking wet anyways from all the waves crashing over the raft- may as well jump in and have your breath taken away. 🙂 ha- love what you wrote about the seemingly quiet bodies of water- i see photos of your water and gators and think: give me dry land.

      and we are STOKED you ordered the pendant “i’m not prepared for this”!!! i sensed something in you that told me we had lots in common, this pendant being further proof. it took a month of sundays to find the word “prepared” for it. and then, it showed up naturally hyphenated in a century old book called “the lion hunter”. i’m shipping it out tonight. thank you times twelve!

  3. Rose Hunter

    Would jump from a perfectly good raft because I promised I would – could be a moniker….
    “You jumped in because you must. If you didn’t, fear gained the upper hand” – speaks right to my inbox today. (Me being the inbox.) (Waiting for something.)
    Love the pendant quote above. Me neither. (Ever!) 🙂
    And congrats again! Re the book and your pendanting. I think you are jumping quite a bit lately. (?)
    When do we get a pic of the proof(s) on this blog? Huh? 🙂

    • redmitten

      rose- “because i promised i would” has gotten me into some places i otherwise wouldn’t have gone. but so far, no regrets. 🙂 and i love what you say about “speaks right to my inbox”. good line lifted to a different context. i hope you get what you are waiting for! and yes, i’ve been jumping in without realizing it lately. feels good. pic of what? the book? soon!

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