Long Childhood Summers

In this room is a photo of my daughters I took a few years back, maybe ages 3 and 9, a summertime shot, the girls’ heads tipped together. Both girls smile, radiant. The oldest daughter’s arm is wrapped around her sister, in the unabashed ownership she has claimed over her sister since the youngest’s infancy. The littler girl is snuggled to her sister, eyes closed in bliss, knowing her most rightful place is with her sister.

At 18 and 12, the oldest is still preening her sister, asking (and sometimes not asking) to brush her hair, trim and paint her nails, for your own good.

This week marks the youngest girl’s first week of overnight camp. Reaching into a spill of moonlight on the porch tonight, I wondered how the moon flows over my girl, this pure light. How gritty is that sleeping bag? What stories will you tell us?

Sure, I embrace this opening of my growing girls’ worlds and my own release from near-constant mothering, while remembering the incomparable sweetness of an infant sleeping, cheeks milk-flushed rosy, along my forearm. Lady Moon shining over all of us: familiar friend.

Summer Kitchen

In June’s high light she stood at the sink
With a glass of wine,
And listened for the bobolink,
And crushed garlic in late sunshine.

I watched her cooking, from my chair.
She pressed her lips
Together, reached for kitchenware,
And tasted sauce from her fingertips.

“It’s ready now. Come on,” she said.
“You light the candle.”
We ate, and talked, and went to bed,
And slept. It was a miracle.

– Donald Hall


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