Friday, November 29, 2013

Paper Boats on River Time

The moon was big and yellow and cheesy but beautiful

Over the silhouettes of pines rustling in the breeze

Supper had begun at four with carrot soup and croutons

And had meandered into a tub of mashed potatoes and the tryptophan

Flanked by chicken biryani and banana cream pie

At seven we wiped the whipped cream off our lips on our sleeves

Our lucky selves drunk on the camaraderie of family and friends

We'd watched The Oz on the VCR already

We weren't about to watch it again on TV

We sneaked off instead onto the deck to get some fresh air we said

My cousin and I, and out there the night was young  as we

It was all of seven or nine, or eight if you insisted upon equality

For you see, I was seven, my cousin was nine

And if anybody asked how old “we” were we simply said “eight”

And we shared everything equally

If we chanced upon a stash of fifteen jellybeans

We took seven each and bit the eighth into halves

If we had twentyseven marbles between us we threw away the “fourteenth”

But I digress

We were suffering that day from a bad case of cabin fever as it had rained five days in a row

The hurricane had swallowed up half the holiday week

But it had left us with a gushing creek at the edge of the yard

Two or maybe even three feet across, a mini Mississippi to my little Colossus

And as all flowing rivulets inspire the human kind to build vessels for to carry forth our dreams

This one sent us hurtling back into the house for a sheaf of papers

With which to build some paper boats to float on the stream slick with moonlight

"Be careful," said my older cousin, ever watchful of the younger me

I think now that it matters so much that we remain careful in everything we do

I can hardly believe we pay homage to those ships that came over vast waterways

Bearing guns and germs and steel and the will to kill the innocent with them all

We cannot reduce that horror to the annual worshipping of the Black Friday

How do we honor those who suffer still from the wounds of yesterday? 

            

                                                                                                                          ~ Sonali

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