General Poetry posted October 2, 2022

This work has reached the exceptional level
Remembering the sounds of childhood

I Remember

by Theodore McDowell

I sit on the side of a pool,
legs dangling in the water,
watching my twelve-year-old
grandson swim,
his playful voice tugging at joy.

I remember sounds
from my childhood
at the beach:
my sister laughing
as high-tide waves
toss and tumble
her petite body
toward the shore;
Mom ringing a bell,
announcing supper time,
reeling her kids
into the cottage;
the slap of cards
against a wicker table
on the screen porch
as thunder and surf
spar outside.

I carry those memories
deep within,
hiding them
from time's
withering touch,
knowing they will fade
into washed-out illusions
in the light.

Death has its own vivid sounds:
the flopping of a trout
in the bottom of a boat;
the keening
of an ambulance at night;
Mom's death rattle
in the nursing home.

I fear growing old.
I'm a fall risk.
My mother fell on a walk,
her brittle leg cracking
like a winter branch.

Time pushes me from behind
against my will
toward silence.
Mom couldn't hear
my tender lament
after the nurse
closed her eyes.

Within the crevice
between innocence
and loss,
life murmurs:
the hoot of an owl
in the shank
of the night;
the anxious sigh
after a business meeting;
the numbing rock and rattle
of a subway train.

My grandson
bounces on the diving board,
curls into a cannonball.
I hear the splash
before the cool water
drenches my body.
He emerges
from the deep end.
skims the surface
of the pool
like a blue dragonfly.

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