disappear with friends
near age 11. We lose them
to baseball and tennis, garage
bands, slumber parties, stages
where they rehearse for the future,
ripen in a tangle of love knots.
With our artificial knees and hips
we move into the back seats
of their lives, obscure as dust
behind our wrinkles, and sigh
as we add the loss of them
to our growing list of the missing.
Sometimes they come back,
carting memories of sugar cookies
sandy beaches, memories of how
we sided with them in their wars
with parents, sided with them
even as they slid out of our laps
into the arms of others.
Sometimes they come back
and hold onto our hands
as if they were the thin strings
of helium balloons
about to drift off.
"Grandchildren" by Olivia Stiffler, from Otherwise, We Are Safe.
© Dos Madres Press, 2013