The Shallow End Disease

"Yeah…to get to Hawthorne's fishing hole, you will need to go straight down Highway 6
Turn left at Maxwell Meats, and then take a right at the causeway and cross the lake.
There on your right is the spot"

You can also find the same directions under warm dinner plates
Printed on the place-mats
In the Tank Range Restaurant
On the corner of Tank Range Road.
Mashed potatoes mixing with dirt roads and butter spots marking mustard fields.

I have never needed directions to Hawthorne’s hole,
since it is the lake across the street from my home.

The wet pit dug out by Mr. Hawthorne
With heavy shovels
Before the roads
The time of tracks
Paved by human hooves.

After a thick rain
The shallow edges reach our cellar floor
Shortening ceilings for spiders and June bugs.

During the July drought
The lips of Cedar stumps
And tongues of severed trunks
Bobb in and out,
Kissing the roof of the shallow end.

Under water
In the rotted wood
A womb for miniscule snails

Under shell
In the spiral cones
A bed for minute bacteria

Our ankles sift through the seasoned sludge
Trekking through the bottom moss
And up the nettled hill
Tracking invisible villains into mom's mud room.

At lunch we play rummy on the porch
While the beasts
Rummage under
The skin on our shins
My sister has some on her wrists
They wriggled up her arms
While she was digging down
In the lakes shallow rim
Hoping for clam snaps
solid sand
and the firm back of beach

Within the hour, the demons are dehydrated
And die under our covers

We are left rashed
Cursed with a scratching spell:

The Shallow End Disease
1. Sun & Snails
2. Binding Bacteria
3. Lakes or ponds
Preferably heavy weed cover
Allow ingredients to simmer for a month of June
And add wading ankles and exploring arms for
A short dip.  Results vary depending on time and temperature.

For Best Results:

Mom finds us
Kaladryll in hand

Our blotchy legs and bumpy arms
Blushed rose
Under an itch concealed

We scratched for a week,
Rubbing our pox's through cotton socks
And rubber bangles.

I can shave my legs again
Shiny stems
Scaled from soap

My roots surviving The Shallow End disease

The itch

That lives in Hawthorne’s Hole
Across the street from my home
Across the causeway

Rhya Tamasauskas, 2003