Sweetheart Redux

There you were.

It was only seventy-two years ago.
You, a mere twenty-two, and he, a mere
twenty-four, and it was all beginning
on that day: the requisite gains and losses
of life, of parents, of children, of jobs
and money, of health and status,
of friends and rivals.

Earth-gardens and heaven-houses,
the shoes polished and lined neatly
along the edge of your shared closet floor,
the smart suit and A-line poplin dress,
the plum lipstick and the late night
inventions of one kind or another.

The playful babies and the disinclined cats,
the charitable neighbors with their hand-me-down
furniture, the church folk and kin folk and
you folks, doing what all good folks do.

The breakfast sausage, the wedding punch,
the chocolate pies and cotton aprons,
the summer parades and overalls and fresh
coats of sage green paint, three stories up
on a wooden ladder with the ease and humor
of a circus performer.

The manicured shrubbery, the studied
country yard, each perennial in its optimal place,
a scientist’s sway over his private landscape.

The briskly swept sidewalk, the rotary
phone with its clumsy charm, the slamming
screen door, the ping pong table in the basement,
a silent witness to everything but the game.

Ice cream socials and redolent catalpa blooms,
fire-popped corn, the grape arbor’s late summer bounty.

And that shiny red tricycle
you brought home on the city trolley
for your firstborn, your giddy joy amusingly
obvious to fellow passengers on the car,
just as it was to your children and grandchildren,
to acquaintances and strangers, and to God Himself,
winking at the two of you so many decades ago.

Claire Juno, © 2015

…dedicated to the memory of my grandparents on their anniversary.

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