15, Number 88, December 2012/January 2013 Before You Decide To Get Old by Marjorie Bruhmuller
We were both young once
your smile bore all the troubles
of the world away. In the garden
under gentle green canopies
of beans and potatoes,
the spayed ferns of carrot tops,
we would hoe reality around our roots.
Stop mid-row in the peas,
entwine like tendrils
in the hammock. Baskets full -
we would stretch our bodies
over cool grass and take in the underbelly
of fir and maple, taste the sticky resin,
fill our lungs with sweet new-mown air.
We’d ripple in the sun like wheat,
do you remember?
Or run to the river, husk our clothes
on the rocks and white as snow
lean into the falls, let the rushing river
scrub our backs, ladle us into the current
surprise our naked skin, our toes
blindly tapping the slippery bedrock
keeping our heads just above
the swath of foam, and stumble out
over slices of slate to dry rock,
stretch into the sun, our bodies
attracting deer flies with our glistening.
So easily we forget how to play.
Like gravity through the hourglass,
time insists we follow after it
and tidy the mess it leaves behind -
stoke its gaping mouth with wood
feed its hunger, drape our whole lives
over its cage so it may sleep.