The Poet’s Corner – Lessons


The summer yard is held in the gaze of the noon
day sun.  You squint at fractals of light caught
in your lashes. She is teaching you how to hoop,
or trying to, both of you laughing at the spasms
your hips interpret as that liquid movement

your daughter’s hips effortlessly achieve. Swirling
silver and metallic blue, her hula hoop wheels to
a techno beat she’s chosen off her phone, glints
to rival the sun. She smiles at your doubtful expression
as she explains you must thrust your hips

forward, not sideways, for the hoop to spin
around your obstinate body. It’s August
and the day is wide open under the plush
green leaves, but you and the trees feel it
already, the turning hours, the days shortening.

The anticipation of the next turn.  She is moving
out come fall, there are boxes packed in her
room already.  You try to imitate what she has
shown you, forward and back, the hoop finding
its center and spinning as it should for one brief

moment before it spills to the ground. There
are only so many goodbyes you can carry
in the pockets of your heart, you think, yet
change is inevitable, even necessary.  There
is nothing you can do but try to find some

moments of grace where you can.  She tells
you to pay attention as she lifts the hoop up,
capturing the sky and trees in a perfect circle,
and at her count, you both start over again.

Top photo: Bigstock