The End of Summer


the smell of curly hair frosted by the sprinkler

upturned faces, iridescent wonder

a child can hold a rainbow and make it rain

their toes find muddy yard delicious while i sigh

watermelon snow cone beards and ice cream mustaches

strawberries, swimming and swords

flowers made for plucking

sandy footprints by the door

these best rival-friends brothers

sons of ancestors so far away

did africa and china ever meet in history?

but now they share their golden tans

these strong wild boys

who do not shrink from sun like i

two monkeys shaking the photina branches

teasing each other higher

chasing and screaming down the hall

while baby sister naps

“the dragon’s coming!”

we hide in closet caves and munch provisions

i cut watermelon and break up fights

apply band aids

exhausted and sometimes cross

but always i am wanted

the one who make them safe

who makes it fun to run from dragons

i remember when we brought our eldest home

fifteen pounds and bald, i marveled

that such a small person could fulfill a lifetime’s dream

and redeem a graveyard of losses

but he did, this little person

bringing summer back

and filling each day with spinning exuberant joy

five years later he is changing

writing his letters and making his own friends

we held his fingers when he first learned to stand

and now he spins cartwheels

we clapped when he stacked his first blocks

and now he builds castles

coaxed him through asthma, eczema

the fears that spawn a thousand sleep starved nights

kindergarten means

that for the first time since he became ours

he will spend as much waking time with them as us

it is a cosmic not just sentimental shift

our planet has grown strong

will start to orbit other stars

and suddenly the half decade’s toil is forgotten

and i only wonder

is he ready? did i love him enough?

school starts in a week

and i’m the one who doesn’t want summer to end

yet it will

and the bleeding shows it’s real, and the heart beats on

bedtime while the sun teases through the blinds

“no mommy, it’s morning time”

my second son at three is still my planetoid

the affectionate one

large brown eyes, thick lashes i can’t take credit for

i only take grace

and settle my little bird in his nest

“mommy, is the dragon coming?”

“no baby, the dragon is far away. you’re safe”

eyes close and exhausted boys sleep

while i chase the dragons of a summer night