French Lesson

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French is not the easiest class to miss.

I missed almost two weeks straight

after Mom died

and a lot of other days before that

and now I am really behind.

Mom wanted me to take French

because she thought it would help

in ballet class.

Dad lost a couple of bids.

He says people are losing

their jobs,

the economy is bad.

The TV keeps warning

unemployment is up,

gas prices are up,

and people are fed up,

according to Dad.

I don’t know why he

has to watch,

it only makes him

yell at the TV.

Dad says we need to conserve

more than we have been.

Now the house feels cooler

and when I complain

Dad says

to go outside and come back in,

then I’ll feel warmer.

Harriet and I spend our time bundled in

an extra layer of clothes

dragging around our afghans mom made

like giant moths in cocoons.

We are out of butter again.

Dad says

to try using peanut butter.

Well isn’t the word

butter

in it?

Harriett won’t eat her toast

and it just sits on the plate

getting cold

like the floors

in this house

and suddenly one phrase comes to me.

Il fait froid.

Il fait froid dans la maison!

 

 

April Song on the Vineyard

A robin sings in the thicket on the edge.

Ter-eet! Ter-eet!

The wind whisks through the twisted oaks.

Somewhere off in the distance

someone steps on the gas

and the exhaust ripples the morning air

and the Atlantic yawns beneath the front.

A new day.

The Swing

The measured sawn board, sanded seat

parallel to the rise where the sappy roots dive

two ropes, worked through the holes,

knotted and plum.

My father pulls the swing, leans back over the edge of the world,

grasps the ropes with hands as scored as the inside of our wheelbarrow

the toes of his boots dig into the stubbled grass

behind the dirt patch launch.

Legs tucked, elbows bent,

a rocket ride promised to aim straight for the smiling sun,

the giddy countdown

and then

the push, as we move forward together

the rush of the under duck, my legs unfold

reach to the robin’s egg sky above the pine bough

back to the bursting forsythias

back to him.

.