Thursday, June 15, 2006

Poetry Thursday - A Poem for Summer


We were kids.
It was summer.
We did all the typical things that kids do
when they have too much time on their hands.
We rode our bicycles around the neighborhood,
daring each other to glide handless down the bumpy sidewalk.
We climbed the tree that separated our yards to pick
the biggest, fattest, juiciest mulberries we could find.
We lay side by side in a twin sized bed listening to the same record
over and over and over again.
We played teacher, secretary, mother--
the only real options we thought women had.
And in the evenings, when the summer sun began
to have a little mercy on us all
we'd chase the tinkling sound of music
filling the air with its special kind of magic.
Stumbling over our flip-flops,
the ones that simply refused to stay on our feet,
we'd hurry to make perhaps our most important decision of the day.
Sitting cross legged in the grass
we'd let the sugared stickiness of our frozen treats
melt down our arms,
our tongues stained brilliant shades
of red and blue and green,
me insisting my choice was better than yours,
you insisting your choice was better than mine.
That was years ago.
I don't know where you are now.
I don't know what you do for a living,
if you're married,
if you became a teacher, a secretary, a mother,
or more importantly if you're happy,
really happy.
But if I happened to bump into you
while forcing my way through the crowded aisles of a grocery store,
if I were still able to recognize you
despite the change time has made to your appearance,
I'd tell you I'm still chasing the ice cream man,
bare feet slapping the hot pavement,
arms flailing to catch the driver's attention,
letting him know that yes, I am coming,
just as fast as I can.
I'm just a little slower now,
weighed down by a child's chubby hand clasped in mine.
And should we ever have our long awaited reunion
I must remember to tell you that yesterday,
when I finally caught up to the frozen paradise on wheels
slowly rambling it's way down the block,
I was overjoyed to find a woman behind the wheel.
There were so many options we never knew we had back then.
Yes, old friend, when the summer evenings cool
and the sun begins to make room for night
you'll still find me in hot pursuit of magical tinkling melodies,
you'll still find me chasing the ice cream man.

19 Comments:

Blogger deirdre said...

Michelle, your writing devastates me. You've captured longing and childhood and grown up life.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Deb R said...

That is such a perfect slice of childhood memory. And I love the ending!

11:16 PM  
Blogger Lazy cow said...

Beautiful. Just beautiful. Thank you.

11:44 PM  
Blogger gkgirl said...

this is sweet with memory.

i like how it went from
childhood
to adulthood
so seamlessly...
so smoothly.

:)

3:30 AM  
Anonymous Nicole/Tickled Pink said...

Lovely and sweet. You've done a fabulous job communicating with the child in all of us.

5:33 AM  
Blogger Star said...

How lucky to be reliving those fun memories with Brit. Loved the line "and the sun begins to make room for night". Thanks, Michelle.

6:47 AM  
Blogger Josephine said...

I was just having my own childhood memory flashback yesterday. It was brought on by a dream.

Such a gift when that happens, the memory of our innocent selves...

7:22 AM  
Anonymous samantha said...

Gorgeous. Completely and utterly real and full of magic.

7:49 AM  
Blogger maggiegracecreates said...

Michele - i love the line about the "sun making room for night". That image immediately took me to my favorite time of the day when I am at the lake house and relaxed and resting on the dock. Beautiful

9:23 AM  
Blogger Frankie said...

Michelle this is so lovely!! So filled with memories and childhood enchantment. I love that we're all still that little girl, chasing after the ice cream man. Beautiful.

9:57 AM  
Blogger acumamakiki said...

a perfect ending.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Madeleine said...

I think you said it all in that poem! It took me straight back to 1980 when I was a seven year old, playing the same games as you did. I think we had more freedom in those days, and it's sad that our children won't be able to experience the same childhood we did.
It was such an evocative poem.
You're still the same girl you were back then, even with child's hand in hand.

1:48 PM  
Blogger Carmen San Diego said...

Ahhh, you made me think of my old childhood friends and what they are doing now.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Writing Blind said...

I love that last line, absolutely wonderful.

3:45 PM  
Blogger melba said...

I was there with you running...
Wow I can really feel this poem.
This brought back many memories for me. I remember one girl...Gina. I am thinking about her and when we were in the fourth grade and how she knew my Dad didn't get me an Easter basket so she took stuff from her own basket and made one for me and how special and loved I felt when we all got back from Church and saw that basket at our front door. I wonder where are you now Gina. I am thinking of you; sending you love.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Colorsonmymind said...

Holy cow this is so good....so good-the sweetness is trickling down my arms and dripping on my toes.

This really is delicious>

Love to you

6:25 PM  
Blogger tracey said...

Every post Michelle, every post, my hair stands on end.
I love it.

9:37 PM  
Blogger STEVE said...

Michelle,
You know as well as I do that this is not a poem! This is prose. Starting a new line now and again only makes the story LOOK like a poem. We can argue the details later!
very moving though. I was touched. and as always -I love you!
Steve

10:30 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

You have described my own childhood summer vacations here. This is gorgeous and full of beautiful images.

kiss, kiss...

12:18 AM  

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