the last time I do this that I do each year,
she couldn't even sit.
"Tummy time" was mighty.
Each year, a ritual.
The time comes not by a square exed on the calendar,
not by the click on a watch.
I just know.
Today wasn't our first warm day,
but it was The Day.
Without words or song
(without even shoes, and don't so many rituals demand shoes?)
I traced the circle
of our house.
I opened every window on the main floor.
Not a crack, not a bit.
I opened them all the way open.
The breezes moved in
and smells and voices
and I swear tonight I caught a fruitfly in my fist
and she watched,
she who Last Time could barely raise her eyes above the hem of the floor-length curtains.
The front windows and the back windows,
they swung us in a north-south current
soothsaying of flip-flops
and inflatable pools
and carried the draperies back and forth on anticipations.
The white sheer panels and the cream silk panels
lifted one layer and then the other
from almost the floor to almost her shoulders
caught on the portends of hours in sunshine.
and whoosh full-bodied
to molest the screens.
studied the currents,
delighted by the dance
and invited by fingers of air,
she joined them.
Last Time she could have been tickled by hems
if we lay her just so
and This Time she tangoed
around and around
tracing her own circle
timed to absorb the embrace of the whooshing back down
and jump from the path of the lilting back up
and laughing the sweet sound of summer coming.