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UP THE STREET

Happy the tree with a swing in it!

A wide arching rope with a disc at the end.

The type at which a young kid takes a flying leap,

grabs with one hand, the other flung out like a wing.

The sort that invites loud shrieks and giggles,

pirate yells, or “bombs away,  or a general “AUUUUGGHHH!”

The grass beneath it no longer exists.

The roots of the tree laid bare.

Mom’s good wicker chair from the front porch

is leaning against the trunk, ready to help the smallest flying monkey,

after grabbing the swing and climbing into the seat,

swing back and forth,  head thrown back, eyes closed,

both hands ’round the rope in a death grip.

Even after Mom hollers, “Time to come in!”

the swing swings free in glee.

It waits this morning for not just the sun,

but the son and the daughter and neighbors,

to finish their breakfast, and brush their teeth,

then really start the day flying.

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He is driving now,

Huffing at his mother as he stomps back in the house for whatever it was he forgot.

I cannot resist asking his mother, as I walk by,  if he is the famous artist who at the age of five or six sold his oil paintings of trees from their porch one hot summer- gloppy, green leaves, thick, brown trunks and rigid, yellow rays of sunlight squeezed on the canvass- my favorite hanging to this day in my basement amidst other treasures.

That has been a while, she chuckles, pulling on her sunglasses as she smiles, looking back.

Just when did he grow up?

****

She is tall now,

And winning pageants with her dazzling smile, mile long legs, and elegant demeanor.

I bring out my pictures of her with pigtails and no teeth, recalling how we would sit on my porch having tea parties while waving at her mother from across the street; and how she just knew her daddy would love a silly little dried beef glass with stars around the top she took from the cupboard,  wrapped with paper and ribbon, then ran home to give it him.

Her mother laughs remembering how she “yoved yipstick” at age three, and the color “lello.”

When did she grow up?

And how is it we have not changed?