Do you remember that time when you took me down to the river, and your sister called me your “Brazilian slide?”
I remember that shad were schooling in silvery clouds just below the surface -- the first I’d ever seen.
I sat on the old, grayed boards of the pier, letting my feet cool in the river until you and she came to join me with a pint of Old Forester.
We passed it around, and you continued some good-natured argument from your childhood about who’d done what to whom, while the sunset rouged your faces.
Stars came out, the pint was empty and we slept there on the rough wood of the pier in a pile, like puppies, until the damp woke us.
When we went in the cabin, we left the lights off and tumbled onto her bed, and all I could hear of the world was soft lapping of water and our three hearts beating.
I remember how you collected plastic pop bottles, and when there were a dozen, we formed an assembly line. Your sister sprayed them with hot pink paint, I tied reflective tape from the neighboring coal mine around the bottles, and you attached hooks, lines and sinkers to every one.
Later, in the flat-bottom boat, we baited each bottle-float with spoiled chicken livers meat and threw them overboard for catfish. Then we waited in the dark, leaning back against the sides of the boat, wishing on meteorites.
When a bottle started to bob and weave, we paddled after it, whooping and scooping it up along with a splashing blue- or channel-cat.
Even if you don't remember, I wanted you to know that you will never see me happier than I was back then, on those summer-soaked river nights, laughing at the stars, not ever.