Outside my window there's
a little girl laughing with her grandma
in the yard next door.
There's the splash of water
from the wading pool,
and shouts of, “Watch me!”
soon followed by more serious questions,
like, “What kind of flower is that?”
and “Why do you have a mirror in the backyard?”
The latter is something I've wondered about too,
so I listen closely for the answer but
grandma just laughs and offers
a juice box and cookie distraction.

It is quiet for a moment,
then a dog barks twice,
a bird chirps in a nearby tree,
and I am carried down a road of memory
where my daughters are laughing in the yard,
playing with my father while
my mother offers them ice cream or gummy bears.
They run for the treats;
one takes ice cream, the other wants gummies.
The sun is shining and the grass smells sweet.

Further down Memory Lane
I am sitting with my own grandmother.
There is no sunshine or grass.
There is no laughter
because grandma had been sick
for as long as I could remember.
But that didn't matter
because we were happy together.
My grandmother's gnarled fingers
knitted me a princess's cape
and sewed clothes for my Beloved Barbie dolls
from scraps of old cloth.
We played school together;
it was glorious, serious business
because I got to be the teacher
and grandma was careful
to get a few wrong answers
so I wouldn't always have to give her 100%.

A car rolls down the street;
its thumping bass rattles the windows.
The little girl and her grandma are quiet;
I think they must have gone inside
because that little bundle of energy
couldn't stay quiet so long.
The dog barks again.
As if by a hypnotist's cue,
I walk down Memory Lane again,
looking for the laughter.

~Elise Skidmore ©2020

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