Summer Beard

Whiskers start in June
mostly black, some gray
pushing through skin
like sunflowers they emerge
carefree, unrestrained by razors
of other seasons
when they are scraped away
like speckled truth
man’s primitive nature hemmed.
Summertime, I let them grow for days
like a backpacker searching
for my lost youth.
Long hours of shadowy sun
my face like time
standing still.

Morning at School

Let peals of laughter
echo off walls, sounds of children
on the stairs and in the halls

Let the whistle sound on playing field
boundless jumping up to run
touch the grass under morning sun

Let minds ponder questions
scientific method, formulas
angles, geometric lines

Let young voices take the stage
sing with power and persuade
light abound in fearless choir

Let us clear the way
for the young to own their day
our tomorrow gleaming bright

Trampoline

In the air I’m a kid, split second floating, suspended, before gravity tugs me back to the coiled elastic mat. Legs, torso, shoulders, body of pounds, my weight denting the flexible floor. Calve muscles support the landing, trembling energy moving like a feeble pogo stick. Is that all you’re gonna do, just sit there jumping up and down? My daughter asks. As if I have a choice, as if I could leap spontaneously, do a flip or twist. I smile watching her limbs lunging carefree, that song Riptide playing in the background, the one we both like. This is all I can do, but I won’t stop. I say like the middle-aged man that I am. Do a trick, come on, she cajoles. Deliberate, I push harder, hop higher, watch this, touch my toes in mid air. That’s your best? She laughs. I just grin, glad that I’ve fooled her, glad that she thinks there’s more in the tank.

She’s Twelve

I turned twelve once
the party was chaotic
all boys tackling boys
football on the lawn

she is totally different
sitting by the pool
laughing with her friends
5’5 a girl woman

talks about Victorian houses
between ballet kitchen twirls
in the shower forever
singing Shawn Mendes songs

her door closed now
at night reading alone
wants a phone because
her friend has one

we watch Mamma Mia
imagine her in Greece
want to freeze time
keep us both young

I embrace it all
childhood has to go
teenager around the bend
beginning of the end