Willow and Bark

Her name is June, though she’s willow

as spring. I am coast live oak in the fall.

 

She is a dimple in milk-glass skin. I am

skin corrugated like bark.

 

We sail a butterfly kite at the beach; when

she cartwheels, her hair anoints the sand.

I pace myself and search for its offerings—

bi-valve shells with both halves attached.

 

She discovered the supple arch in her

back and admires it with her hands on her

hips. I’ve made peace with the veins on my

hands—maps of the cyan hills I’ve climbed.

 

We both double over at silly jokes, until

she stops, “Grandma—seriously?!”

and I try to hide that I question my mind

often, and maybe too seriously.

 

At the zoo she gambols, a capuchin

monkey, climbing on every railing she finds.

I see myself in the melancholy eyes of

an elder orangutan.

 

Her heart is a lily ready to bloom. Mine is

a garden of children and dogs, family and

friends, some in the ground.

 

I wish she had known me when

I was five, too.

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