May 6, 2009
by Patricia Wellingham-Jones
At dawn on a breath-stealing day
we took coffee and chocolate milk
and mangoed oatmeal to wood chairs
by the creek. Our hair feathered
in the breeze like dandelion fluff
in the last swish of coolness
before the north wind fired up the valley.
An otter family tumbled sleek brown bodies,
splashed among rocks. Fish flicked silver
in the white sun of noonday.
As finches dipped beaks in a drying bird bath
three small boys yipped and shrilled
like parrots in the wild of the creekbank.
Flung water, smelly sneakers, deflated balls.
The western sun slanted apricot rays
through cottonwoods. Over the bridge
pedaled a mother and daughter in red helmets.
Just before dinner you followed me, long towel
trailing through road dust. Showed your doting elder
the fine points of dog paddle and float.
Dark drove the humans away. Bullfrogs
bellowed upstream and down. Cats
paced a final prowl before lock-up.
In the moon-gleaming night I awoke
to a deer splashing under my window,
hooves clattering on river rock.
The water slid to river, to sea, owls muttered.