At Poetic Asides, we’re filling in the blanks: “The Meaning Of _______”


At three, summertime meant
my sisters stayed home all day
We’d play together, the whole neighborhood
Every mom our mom, watching over us

At five, summertime meant
No more Kindergarten
No more snacks or naptime giggles
I missed my new friends and wondered about first grade

At eight, summertime meant
a nice, long vacation
Swimming in the backyard
Sneaking sips of beer at Mom’s jazz parties

At twelve, summertime meant
the awakening of my body, my first cramps
Denied the pool because I couldn’t navigate tampons
and Mom didn’t want to talk about it

At sixteen, summertime meant
School friends would drive out to see me, the country mouse
I didn’t have to miss them all summer
Backgammon with my best friend John til dawn

At twenty-five, summertime meant
lots of gigs – weddings, bar mitzvahs
Sweating out Village piano bars for extra cash
Saving money because August is dead in the City

At thirty-four, summertime meant
Puerto Rican beaches with my baby girl
Her first swims were off the shore, in my arms
We were always salty, sweating, smiling

At forty-nine, summertime meant
hard times for my girl as she
battled disturbing trends of mindset
She, solitary; me, worried; doctors, experimenting

Now it’s my fifties and summertime means
Hot flashes accentuate the humidity
My days are my own and so is my illness
Tricking myself into getting outside for sunshine

No matter the person, summertime means
different pleasures at different ages
different pressures at different ages
Seasons are like mood swings, summertime having the advantage of sun

© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore, Sharp Little Pencil