Life is that time you played
What started out as hide-and-seek
Then someone added Nerf guns
Secret bases, boys-vee-girls
And finally a rope swing and a dare
Water so cold it warmed the after-swimming air.
Treats meant to last the week eaten then and there.
Nothing ever tasted so sweet.
No one saw the June sun duck below the trees
behind the river line.
Well past supper time!
On legs sore from running you nonetheless peeled
Across the fields
To a half-meant ‘sorry momma’, and a half-cold spaghetti meal.
Life is the buzzing sound
From music played too loud
And the noise of the college crowd.
That lingers still in ears and on your clothes
All down September’s rain-painted side-walk home,
Reminds you of that second pint,
The little smile she bore you
Sideways, mid sentence to her friends,
That might – just might – some future night, blossom into much, much more.
Life is those endless minutes waiting, anticipating
The breaking of the swept and polished order of long-kept
Knick-knacks, unmoved since last They stormed the door;
That in two violent minutes of shedding little coats and mittens triggered
More noise than needles make in all the winter weeks of knitting new ones, one size bigger.
Then They finally appear, you find
Little faces so filled with Now and so in likeness of Their parent-child, standing, smiling just behind,
It calls to mind, every school lunch prepared, every memory shared
and all those times bygone.
This rich reward, this weekend chaos, is the reason why you struggle on.
Life is never ‘staying safe’,
Waiting, clutching to existence,
Until every living risk fades to nothing.