from the hammock. I watch my husband wind slithery white rope around
long tan arms and haggard bark. Measures, levels, measures again. He gives me
a lemony kiss when he climbs down the ladder, his teeth
still cold from an icy gulp.
Our daughter scurries around the tree, fingers popsicle-sticky, bare heels
kicking up thyme leaves and grass clippings. Papa’s puns send her
giggles up into whirls and spirals. The black cat lifts his nose
from his cool dint in the lawn, sniffs, and blinks his yellow eyes
at each arc we make through the air.
Almost thirty years earlier, my father winds taut brown rope around
muscled forearms, saws cedar seats, and chooses the perfect tire. He says little,
presses lips together until they almost disappear behind his clipped beard. He gives
gruff directions, but his blue eyes sparkle. This is how so many
years go by, such still lips and flashing eyes, before I understand.
Tonight our little family travels those three decades back
in only four miles. My husband picks winking blackberries, our daughter
spins between splashing and chattering. I sit with my father, four bare feet
iridescent in the pool water. We don’t talk about those silent years,
but he is quoting lines from the poem I wrote. I say nothing, and smile.