cement and slippery underfoot
after i took off my shoes and absorbed the smell
of chlorine, sunblock, and shampoo
that stuck to the walls of the women's bathhouse.
this was the one evening out of an entire summer
that we remembered to go to the pool,
the old pool, the one my dad had gone to as a child,
and the bright blue water, mothers with children
in water wings and cartoon print swim diapers,
teenage girls flirting by virtue of their bikinis,
the sound of the splash at the end of the water slide...
under summer's sun there were hopes of picnics,
evenings of tennis and dairy queen,
of walks and lightning bugs and weekend trips.
we talked about going to the beach,
going to wisconsin, to the lake, to the cabin with its
bunk beds and outdoor shower.
may, the month of anticipation,
came and went, and with it,
all of our plans.
here september lurks and i have only sunburnt once,
i have not walked in the sand or ridden a bike to the library,
i have not cooked meals for my family or rented movies,
i have not sat around in the afternoon with lemonade
or sweet wine on the deck with a good book.
fleeting, i suppose, is the word.
the word they use to describe both youth and memory,
and the way that you don't recognize life's treasurable moments
until they have passed, and you instead find yourself
piecing together wonder and meaning from everything
you didn't think to expect.
and you hope that it has been beautiful.