I am the summer you burned
for when the tedious school hours
waned and I came running to
stretch out the dusk just for you.
I saw your muscles burn
the endless energies of youth
as you did cartwheels under
the willows with the fireflies.
I saw your wet feet traipse
across hot pavement and fold
into a cannonball to crash into
the lake and play hide and seek
with the gaze of my rays.
I saw your first cone, mint-chocolate
chip, and the impossible race that
ensued as neon green splotched up
the sidewalk. I saw the awe in your
eyes when you noticed a girl as you
never had and for a moment forgot
quite how to exist. I saw you try to steal
her attention and how that ended
up hurting but that good hurt
when you feel alive like you
never knew was possible.
I saw the first cone you served,
also mint-chocolate chip, the sweat
soaked rings in your cap and the look
of wonder when you were handed
a check and discovered the intersection
between effort and reward, we met again
once the money was gone but I knew
you would be mostly lost.
I still came running when your children
called to see them make tiny prints
in the wet sand and laugh at the seagulls
stealing their French Fries. And you
were there, looking for a parking spot
and wondering how life and time could
ever have amounted precisely to this.
Now I answer the call of your grandchildren
and I am firmly planted in your background
but it is time for you to get up old man,
stand and embrace me as you once did.
Drink deep from what spring you have left
and run under those willows with whatever
vigor your old bones will allow.
I will keep the dusk stretched out for you
for as long as I can, and I am sorry to say,
but that will be our last go around.