STROLLING TO THE FOUNTAIN AT DIRECTOR PARK
My son, at seven, walks beside me
past the food carts on Alder Street,
past that toy store he adores,
but I hardly notice.
The bright September sun
drips through the amber-leaved trees
and falls like sap onto his dark mop of hair.
One hand clutches a robot
that transforms into a truck,
and without looking up,
his other finds mine,
his slender brown fingers interweaving,
and squeezing, pulling me forward
out of the whipping-shed of the past,
out of whatever memory tugs the back of my hair
and says: “Look at me, look at me.”
He still sits on my lap sometimes,
that too snaps me back to the moment,
leaning with the full measure of his body
to place his ear to my heart.
It’s grateful ignorance, that —
still too young to think himself too old.
But I know, I know
soon enough, he’ll pull away
as he does now
my hand grasping only air, and him running off
to dance in that sparkling fountain.
— AE Hines
Originally published in Windfall: A Journal of Poetry of Place, Spring 2016 issue.