…when I start up with poetry.
What time does this thing start?
She was reading, I remember,
slim fingers slipping through the pages
of a story. Good one, I suppose; her eyes
flew back and forth like chimney swifts
above the fences crossing
someone else’s life.
Looking up, without a word,
she asked me and I answered,
There’s time yet, but do start thinking
of getting ready. A half smile in reply, her mind
already taken by the blueness
of the nestled robin eggs,
that only matched the sky.
Jumping with excitement
I waved the flags of warning,
my hands like hummingbirds
arcing in a horseshoe of security.
She shook her head, little quick
emphatic nods of bouncing ringlets,
not now, not now.
I worried only once or maybe
once again, that time has feathers and a tail
and told her. Her head rolled back with
laughter, like the whippoorwill’s
hypnotic sequence; repetitious,
a credo then, self-serving as belief.
When? she asked me, and I said soon.
Then there’s time, she said,
to snip the zinnias into bright bouquets
to fill the china vases and to pick
the last tomatoes. What could I say?
Yes, I nodded. Yes, okay.
What time does this thing start? she asked,
stiff fingers tapping with impatience.
I told her that it already had.
Clouded blue eyes, blinded
by a fiery sun she stared at far too long
yet far too far away to feel its warmth,
stared back at me.
How long ago? she whispered.
A while, I said.
Then, What did I miss? she asked and,
Will it play again?
What could I say?
You can believe that, I answered gently.
Even as I felt the rush of wings.