February 27, 2011
You sit there, so involved in your game
but also
buzzing with the tiny movements of game-focus
in your bright plastic sunbeam
it's almost like you're waiting
for me to notice.

Your back is turned like a little golden tombstone
neon elastic pink and blue
of your bathing suit
stabbed by green grass
wispy hair floating
in an impromptu ponytail.

I'm finally standing right behind you
you don't turn around.
But it's all right
I don't want to interrupt your game.

A small pool on the edge of a hill
your hill.
Sitting on an incline
water sloshes out of your aqua fishplace
toy boats floating
invisible sailors praying to the little sea god
who goes to bed by eight
after her bath

Floater balls soak up
the glassy turquoise
into a clay orange and cornflower blue porous heart
you pick it up and squeeze the life out of it
and the heart stops beating
only to begin again when you drop it
a miracle in the middle of nowhere.

You slither away
shrieking silently
with glee I can't remember now.
Fascination with the little golden ladybugs
napping on crumbling bricks
you pull up tiny lavender flowers
and yellow ones
and the bayleaves growing somewhere around the deck that never gave you splinters
and wild clover flowers
mixing them together
a tiny alchemist's offering to the sun that stained your early years

Laying back on the cool grey concrete of the back porch
it's easy to believe that life is perfect
and straight out of the dreams you create
a sunnier world...
you smell the wood burning in the ancient, friendly stove
silhouettes of clothespins and trousers
in every color
the shining hurts your eyes
just a little bit
reminding you that real life can be just as good as fantasy
you'll forget that later.

The age of the memory turns the sunlight bronze
and makes the grass shimmer like like heatwaves
Sepia child, marching through the moss,
trudging toward your home in the sinkhole
maybe a meteor made that crater
the bellybutton of your childhood

Time to go inside
there are things waiting for you
that no one else can name
or even understand
back to your speckled, shadow-dappled playroom
and unsalted noodles
and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
made by the kindest hands
you ever knew

Days like this
how did they get to be so rare?
At least you still have it
tucked inside those snowing white flowers
in hibernation
a promise you made, and still are making
in a last ditch effort to reclaim the primary color
dirt-stained plastic phone, left inside your sandbox
and very real on your better days

It's still waiting for you there, somewhere.

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