That was the summer I forgot
to write poetry.
We planted jasmine vine
and mint in terracotta pots.
The strawberries went in too late
And the tomatoes far too close to the house
in the shade.
Our first house
our first garden
The children were awake past nine
restless in the late summer heat
the golden hour sunlight
barely contained by their bedroom curtains.
When they were supposed to be sleeping
they would call out into the late dusk
goodnight lemon tree
laughing and relishing their summer freedom
goodnight rosemary bush
goodnight trumpet flower
Charmed and exhausted
by their antics
we ignored them and washed
every dinner dish by hand
waiting for the money for new appliances.
The children were forgiving too
they ate the green tomatoes
with puckered faces
and looked every morning for strawberries
finding none, they poured water from
a purple sand bucket
on the plant anyways.
Maybe strawberries tomorrow, Mama
they told me
before scampering off
to swing from the oak tree
and hunt neighborhood cats.
The Muse was less magnanimous
when I sat down
the last weekend before September
with a cup of tea and a good pen.
It was as if I could see her
eyes narrowing, head titled
a fresh wave
of long silver hair pushed
across her shoulder.
A crisp greeting
“Haven’t seen you around lately.
Too busy with your house
I looked into my teacup
to avoid her gaze.
Inside, I mumbled something about
tiredness and responsibility.
She heard me of, course,
and would have none of it.
Muses are less forgiving than children, or tomatoes.
Peering into my sun-freckled face, she quipped
“You can keep them alive, sure.
And without poetry, my dear,
what are you keeping
them alive for?”