National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month and while April seems to be hesitating to bring us warmth, maybe poetry will do the job.

Alora at Ocean City, September, 2005

Before this day becomes yesterday
I want to write you down–
pouring a cup of ocean
from your paper teapot
and tasting the sand,
now chocolate marshmallow
as you said, “We’re
just pretending”
to a passerby.

Before this day becomes yesterday
I want to hold it, grain by grain
and pour by pour,
the sugar and the lemon of it,
the cakes topped with bottle caps,
your brown and eager body,
your hair tossing
side to side as
down to the ocean
you ran to fill a cup
with tea for me.

I will always remember
and when I fade
I’d like you to remember
but I know you are too young–
yet I like to think that
down in the silent,
loving part of you
you might always harbor
the love that poured from me to you
that morning
as I brushed your hair
and tied it with a purple ribbon.

“Tell me a story,” you said,
and had me wrap you in the pink
towel because it was
your favorite color–
and then you sat in my lap, waiting.

I began: “Once there was a
little sea gull”–
“No!” you said
“Tell me a story about
Omie and Alora!”
And so I said,
“One day, Omie and Alora
went to the boardwalk
and Omie pushed Alora
in the blue stroller with the
hood up to keep the sun off
and Omie said,
“Wouldn’t it be fun
to dress up and have
our picture taken?”
And Alora said, “Where?”
And Omie said, “Here!”
“See all the pretty dresses?”
So they dressed up
in laces and ruffles and hats
(pink, of course)
and smiled together,
looking into the camera,
pretending yesterday,
and marking today
for all the tomorrows.

“Now tell about that sound!”
you said, as the foghorn
sent its patient signal
and I said,
“It’s only to keep the ships safe
from the rocks,”
knowing full well
it was really time
with its stupid clamor
and patient persistence
that would wear away the day
like the drawings we made on the sand
of you and a cat with feather whiskers
and a pony that looked like a dog–
which you never minded, smiled at
anyway as you asked me to draw
you on the sandy saddle.

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