For Marie at the Pond
No such thing/ as a stormless life. --- From “No One Mean Bone” by Hannah Stephenson, The Storialist
Let us play “pretend”, little one,
And see if you’d keep on wriggling
Out of my abuelo-hold*, a catcher’s
Claim on the whirlwind ball—
Pretend you were coming back
To the undredged pond, your leaf
Pool, a mud pool really with rocks
And trickling water from a pipe.
Pretend the years have gone quickly
Quite like that wild Derecho* storm.
No sense dallying on pure littleness,
Everything grows, as you will.
You will also fly the coop, would you?
Scour the land for peace and quiet.
And happiness, too. You will spend
More time escaping this old man’s
Anxious arms, trembling pair of arms
Wrapped around you, to catch you
If you fell into this murky compost
Pond, and protect you from yourself.
Wriggle out all you can, feisty Marie,
I will be there as long maybe as forever
Warding off all things violent, storms,
Too, even if there is no such thing
As a stormless life. I’ve been there
In its eye, but I have earned the right,
My child, to pretend that I could save
You from all the hurt that lurks here,
A pretend place to find make-believes
Come true, and would not hurt you,
Impatient as you are, ebullient as you
Are, running before you learned to walk.
*abuelo-hold – grandpa’s hold; *Derecho – the recent violent, straight wind storm that wrecked places in Washington, Virginia, and Ohio
---Albert B. Casuga