There is an ancient oak that grows in the backyard. From a limb hangs a frayed yellow rope. Years ago there was a tire swing. But this was years ago. Then two girls swung. My sister and I. I, being older and stronger, sat atop with legs dangling down. She sat inside the ring of rubber. Lean back. Caught by my legs. Suspended. Below lay a red dog. Quietly laying and watching over the two. I remember on a still summer evening, sitting in an old metal rocking chair from the patio. The slab of stone, cracks and crevices running through. The ants have made their home in the cracks. In the corner stands a group of pots, an abandoned go at gardening. I have not my mother’s touch. And now I know why. She knows the names and conditions of all the plants but she lets the Lord grow her garden. She has left them in good hands. He does beautiful work. Above me are the branches of a pussy willow. It arrived here as a twig from my second grad class. Its trunk and many branches now grow solid. I photographed the moon from these many branches.
I look up the hill of grass and growth but see no sign of the lightening buys that light the sky. Perhaps the flood of cicadas has eaten them. Yet I have not even seen them. Perhaps it is the robins that reside in the nest beside my bedroom window. Perhaps it is not truly summer yet. This seems right for I am not on a tennis court but sit in the backyard.
The parsley needs to be repotted. The cook needs it to make wonderful concoctions.
In a small pan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add three small cloves of garlic, chopped finely. Increase heat. Add one cup of frozen green beans and one green pepper thinly sliced. Crack black pepper and the juice of half of a lemon are added. Stir occasionally until the beans and peppers soften and brown. Remove from pan. In the same pan, add one teaspoon of olive oil and toast a pita or bread until heated through and golden brown. Remove from the pan. Spread hummus on the pita and top with thickly sliced tomato or the beans and peppers just sautéed. Enjoy.
Two gardening gloves hang on the clothesline. A clothespin for each.
The mosquitoes are after me.
Two days later summer arrives. I am in the company of the boy on the tennis courts, the basketball courts, the neighborhood sidewalks. We saw a dog get hit, rise from the dead and run away. I wanted him to hold me but he didn’t. That evening I saw the first firefly of the summer.
The places of the world add color to my room. They call from their position of ink on a map and beckon me. I shall go next spring. Across an ocean to an unknown place with a familiar language. And I shall go alone. And Will Shakespeare and I shall study together in his land. And I think I shall be happy there.
A reflection of trees outside of my window reflect in the mirror with the photographs and postcards. They reflect in the screen of the machine I type on.