Eying Widening Horizons
Volume Five of The Seasons of Youth

Paperback: 84 pp.
Published: 2013

Price: $15.95

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In this fifth and concluding volume of The Seasons of Youth, Louis Daniel Brodsky celebrates his girl's and boy's passage into teenage years, his daughter progressing from age eleven to sixteen and his son from seven to thirteen. Both parents relive their own youths, as their children experience the joys, adventures, and challenges of this formative time. Their son goes to summer camp — his first trip away from home — and joins a soccer team and the Cub Scouts. Their daughter begins taking interest in cultural events, by going to weekly dance classes and by occasionally attending the symphony, with her father. During this time, both son and daughter encounter the gravity of death, when they lose pets and, much more powerfully, their mother's brother, their beloved "Uncle Duck." Contrasting with their parents' comforting presence during these milestones is the subtly evolving prospect of divorce. All of these elements unfold before the children, as they eye widening horizons that beckon them to journey toward the adult world, where they'll soon take their places.


Pine Cones, Spiky Balls, and Gumshoes

Not even eight days new,
And spring has reverted to its wintry ways,
Betraying us who have journeyed north,
Into the Great Emancipator’s corn country,
This forty-one-degree morning.

Huddling indoors, groping for games to engage us,
Chores boredom forces upon the imagination
When disappointment exceeds impatience
And entertainments are scarce as hens’ teeth
Or dinosaur eggs, we reach threshold,

Bolt from sedentary uninventiveness,
With a commission we’ve conned grandparents into issuing:
One cent per cone from the pine tree,
And per spiky ball fallen off the sweet gum,
For the one who collects the most, from the lawn —

Easter come early but just as much fun!
Running, stooping, digging from mud-clutches,
Mulch, grassy clumps, beneath trunks,
We three — dad and his brood of two — hunt,
Tracking laughter back to its myriad sources.

Five hundred thirty-three times,
We lunge past each other, gathering another treasure,
Heating the dank air around our shimmering selves,
Like incandescent bulbs illuminating basement spaces —
Three detectives pursuing clues leading to a reward —

Until, inescapably disillusioned,
We reach the same conclusion, realize choosing two losers
Requires immediate reckoning.
Ignoring the deal, we gleefully pool our three bags,
Dump their convertible assets onto the living-room rug,

And begin the tedious collective tabulation,
Leading to reimbursement for services rendered.
With bemused consternation,
Grammy and Grampa watch our proceedings —
A king, princess, and prince sharing their joyous hearts’ spoils.






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