when I was seven and hadn't learned how to stumble over my own mind
summertime was better by virtue of being long ago of course
still, things were different, my parents weren't yet a nuisance
I was granted four months of different altitude and air
and Paul the giant started calling me Spike.
Of course it only made me angry at the time.
I wish I had understood how interesting he was
and how much he loved all of us. That's Paul's description, that's it,
he grabbed hold of the level of himself that understands young thought
and perfected it. So he taught high school for thirty years,
and was a good father three times over, helped build wonderful women,
and eventually made me proud to be his god-daughter.
Three years ago I drove a thousand miles to see him
and I didn't call until I was down the road from his house.
Paul put a giant arm around me,
took me inside for chowder and slightly smashed petit fours
and a picture window with snow and deer on the other side of it.
"Watch close, they'll come out, all you have to do is wait,"
he said, understanding their habits from the start.

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