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MUSED Literary Magazine.

French and Sugar

Craig W. Steele

Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft might win,
By fearing to attempt.
— Shakespeare, Measure for Measure, 1604

The burrow where I spent my teenage years
nestled between two creeks, French and Sugar.
They sang to me in my youth, like Sirens
luring Jason to their shores, where I launched

leaf rafts on their rushing ripples, cheering on
each Argo as it negotiated Charybdis’ deadly
whirlpools, despairing whenever one
fetched against a rock or mud-slicked bank.

I completed epic quests by stalking water striders,
outracing water boatmen, and standing statue-still
communing with brown-fleeced mussels. One summer day,
wading with my pre-school nieces in Sugar,

I panicked when Lindsey skated on a stone, lost balance,
tumbled in … until I remembered the water
was only ankle-deep. Even so, I never found the nerve
to skate across its thin ice in winter.