Blue Helium Sky

Tidewater Memory

Tidewater Memory

I was sitting
at the intersection
when the light turned gray --
Northwest clouds like masks
blotting out the glow of a spring day.

But suddenly
I saw another scene
of my childhood years
when a voice and piano
played sweetly in my ears.

The memory cannot live long
in this chill April wind;
that childhood summer scene
pales out like a dream.

I was standing
on the beach looking out
to where the water met
Chesapeake bay's hazy gleam
far across the tidal inlet.

A radio
floated the baritone
of a Sinatra song
wistfully above the people
lying in the sand and was gone.

The memory cannot live long
in this chill April wind;
that childhood summer scene
pales out like a dream.

I was running
with my sister along
the strand, laughing aloud --
our hair blond with August sun
muted by Tidewater clouds.

The bus lurches
and the stopped time starts,
as we begin to climb
a hill of houses and fir
and I leave the past out of mind.

The memory cannot live long
in this chill April wind;
that childhood summer scene
pales out like a dream.

1998

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