The Vacation

In Gettysburg, PA
we stand on a pond bank
pretending to watch
the walleye
nip at the stranded damselflies

Mom picks up a rock
throws it into the water and
says what I already know,
what I have known for a long time:
I can’t take this anymore.

“Not here,” Dad says,
and before the rings melt
back into the water,
pushes me from the scene:
“Go play.”

I stumble over the pond’s
sandy berm and loll
toward a brass horse
rearing on its haunches
beneath a sycamore.
The Union cavalryman bayonets
holes into the humid air
with a metallic fury on his lips.
His Confederate enemy
hides in a bed of ivy
reaching out in surrender.
We sit together
the three of us
our scenes
unfolding and
eventually settling.
Treaties are made,
pacts established,
and then a customary resignation
seats itself
amongst the monuments.
I am ready to broker
the compromise.

Back at the truck
Dad anticipates my question:
“She’s taking a little vacation,” he says
waving at the road behind us.
I turn and see her
her right arm balancing
a leather suitcase
bouncing tightly
against her left hip

Eric Roller is a college recruiter and educator who lives in Port Angeles, Washington. His passion is helping young people find their voices. He enjoys wood-working and being outside in the Olympic National Park. He is recently published in the online journal, Mothers Always Write.