You taught me to see treasure
that lies in shallow pools;
the summer before my father left
there was a neighborhood carnival
and a child's blue wading tub
filled with bright plastic fish,
numbers on their bellies
You smiled when I won-
a tiny baby doll with blue-dot eyes
and painted grooves of hair,
a red whistle that sounded
a high, errant note,
a huge toy watch.
After the Fourth of July parade,
we walked along the curb, collecting
wrapped candy thrown from the floats
and missed by the crowd.
When we left, my pockets bulged.
At the Laundromat, I found silver change
lost between the rumbling machines.
We woke early in warm weather
and went to see what delicate color
the morning glories in the garden
At the church bazaar, old ladies
sold costume jewelry; pink crystal
earrings that pinched, rhinestone
pins for crocheted hats or wool coats,
the bead necklaces sometimes chipped
but in dazzling colors old women
can get away with.
We walked between tables of smiling ladies,
a young mother and her child;
you still had long hair
and were just beginning to turn
to that magic which covers
hurts living has born
and takes on the soul in its isolation.
At the church party on Halloween,
I was Cinderella in a wedding gown
you'd found for a dollar at a thrift store
and altered. We changed places that night-
I in the long gown, you the little girl
in pig tails and tap shoes.
The next morning he left,
surprising me but not you
who no longer believed in static time.
I would need that dress in the months ahead
to eventually understand
a lone, gleaming quarter,
rhinestones in an old woman's hair.