elementary-school yard trembled with rambunctious kids making
the most of their brief time in the sun: shouting, laughing,
taunting, wrestling, dodging the ball, kicking the ball,
catching the ball, skipping double-dutch, hopscotching;
everywhere, flush lungs, bare knees, and elbows stained
green. And all the while the youngest, playing tag, chased
each other in and out of the shade of bordering trees.
I walked the edge of the yard, my crepey neck refreshed
by a sun-warmed breeze, I picked up the scent of the cracked
bark pine that anchored one corner and was drawn to it.
Under its rings of symmetrical, upturned branches were faded
needles piled upon faded needles. Generations long gone.
to lay myself down, to gaze up through this venerable pine
past the flame-shaped fruit on its tips, to stare into the
vault of heaven, I was detracted by a sudden gust that twisted
a splayed cone, thereby exposing to the sun a dark recess,
in which I spotted very briefly two vibrant ladybugs, one
mounted upon the other. Gust gone, the cone settled back.
The exposed recess faded to black.
I returned the cone a degree to the sun. Exposed again,
the pair quivered ever so slightly as the one on top tightened
its tiny forearm grip on the other. I turned it another
degree to the sun. Without a sound, the male released its
hold and reared on its heels, nudging its partner head first,
with no apparent protest, deeper into the recess, then tightened
its grip once again. As I gently released the cone, giving
the lovers back to their darkness, the sun momentarily illuminated
two orange specks chasing each other in and out of the shade
of the recesses just above.
the school yard
the breeze changes direction
a teachers perfume