I wrote the poem below on walk with my son. I had the opening line in my mouth and I wanted to remember it so I took my phone out and recorded it, as I do sometimes. Only after I said the first line I discovered there were more and so I kept going. The poem appears here exactly as I recited it on the spot. In the recording, behind my voice you can hear my feet on the dirt road and my son occasionally cooing in the background as we walk. For the sake of the work and how it appeared to me, I felt like I could not edit it. It exists gifted to you as it was gifted to me in this beautiful place we call home every summer. You can listen to the original audio here or read the piece below.
If you have a body,
live in it
so that your feet ache,
so you that you wake at sunrise
bleary dusty eyed
to see the first light over the mountains.
Here, there is nothing but pine groves and lupine
and dust in the air.
Sometimes when the summer is long
we go down to the river, and take a cool dip
to remember that we have stomachs
that we have aching knee joints
that we have butterflies in our eyes.
I do not know how to tell you that I love you
other than to make you sandwiches
and drink wine as the sun goes down.
My language is in tangerines and tangelos
that grow in the backyard of a house we do not yet live in:
pickles made and set on the shelf, fresh juice in the refrigerator.
What I want to tell you,
is that when you were young we would walk in the morning.
That we’d take the dirt road up the mountain
until I could no longer take another step,
and then turn around afraid of bears.
That we’d walk to the meadow where the yellow wildflowers
and Indian paintbrush
dust the grass all the way to the shore.
What I want to tell you is that when you were young,
I was still young.
And still full of hope and dreams and ambition
the way only young people can be;
foolish enough to know that it could come true,
tired enough to admit that it might not.
What I want you to know,
is that in the summer
there is nothing but pine groves and lupine.