all poems and photographs
© by Maya Stein

all poems and photographs
© by Maya Stein
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Please include a link (www.papayamaya.blogspot.com) when reproducing any of the material in this blog. Thank you!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Monday, December 01, 2008

at first, I envied them their easy love


















at first, I envied them their easy love,
their spot of sun, their sand-kissed boy,
their wagging dog, their picnic sandwiches,
the blanket holding a cache of toys and sunscreen
and novels still stiff at the spine.

at first, I envied them their sweet lemonade,
their wide rectangle of soft, forgiving grass,
their roomy car, their sweaters waiting in the back seat,
as I rode past, solitarily, on a bike
that would take me, straining,
up the long hill to a long bridge,
where traffic and a strong headwind would offer
little in the way of a beautiful distraction.

on my back, a bottle of tepid water,
my license, a credit card, two dollars in change,
three small tangerines rolling about vulnerably,
a thin cotton shirt that would not lend itself to warmth
if the weather turned sour.

on the return trip, riding back toward the water,
sun dipped low but not yet down, I passed the spot
where two hours before, a family had frolicked perfectly
in the wide swath of Sunday. They were on their way
back to the car, now, but I heard them before I saw them,
the toddler, too tired, screaming his last exertions,
Dad heaving the carcass of the picnic over his shoulder –
a dirty blanket, Tupperware minus their lids - and Mom,
balancing the boy against her torso, had to let go
of the trio of pails and matching shovels she’d hoisted
in her fist. The novels, unread, got lost somewhere
in the shuffle toward the car.

I was still armed with half a bottle of water, had spent
none of the coins on frantic calls to friends, was never sidelined
by a flat next to an unfamiliar street corner, had not needed
my license or the credit card to get out of a bind. The tangerines
I had eaten somewhere between 1 and 3, and now their rinds
lay flat and serene at the bottom of my knapsack.

Coasting past the family, I saw Mom swivel in my direction,
and Dad eye me as he popped the truck and ditched
the dirty things inside. At first, I envied them their easy love,
but riding, solitarily, on my sturdy bike, arms free
to steer my wheels anywhere I pleased, I wondered if, in fact,
they envied mine.

6 comments:

Dale said...

:-) No doubt. Love this.

rak said...

Lately, been thinking a lot about how the grass isn't really greener on the other side. No, in fact, it is actually quite green right where we stand :)

Thank you for another reminder.

Kim said...

Just brilliant Maya.

flutter said...

I have no doubt

ConverseMomma said...

They envy you. Trust me, they, I envy you.

GailNHB said...

As a mother of children whose easy love in the morning can turn to cantankerous bickering and backtalk by evening, I can tell you that I have often envied the easy solitude of solo beachgoers. For sure!

Well written again, of course!