Lord, I curl in thy grey
that swings by one
elastic thread to thin
twigs that could, that should
break but don't.
- Denise Levertov
Our eight-year-old boys strung a thin nylon hammock between two trees and hung there together for hours today. The slick material closed around their wriggling bodies like a clam shell, like a cocoon, and they tussled and turned, swinging in the shadow of the green pines.
Isaiah stepped on a bee this afternoon, an unlucky first for the season. He hobbled, screaming and crying across the yard and I threw back the covers where I laid upstairs in bed, eking out a meager nap. I trotted downstairs, knowing my husband would get there first, imagining what kind of injury would cause such a clamor, wondering how we’d handle the ER if needed.
His older brother mouthed the words, “bee sting” as I made my way to the kitchen where Isaiah already had ice on his foot and his Dad held tweezers poised to pull out the stinger. Isaiah's face crumpled in pain and he shook and hopped one-footed to the living room couch where he sat with ice and a comic book.
When I saw him later, he wore socks and shoes, a rare sight for my barefoot boy. Later still, I saw him down in the yard, climbing the fence with his brother, wearing just his socks. By the time I crossed the yard to invite them on a bike ride, they were back in the hammock again. I stood and watched from a distance as he peeled the dirty white socks off his feet, one then the other, and tossed them overboard into the pine needles and dirt.
Our grass is filled with wide swaths of clover.
Every year he gets stung stepping on bees.
Every time he screams and cries.
Every time it isn’t long before he heads back out, his dirty feet bare and vulnerable as he trots across the open green expanse of the yard.
For another story about my barefoot boy, check out this quick essay from 2014, "This is my shoeless boy, feet stained purple. . ."
I'll be sharing poems every weekday in April in honor of National Poetry Month. Like my page: Kelly Chripczuk: Writer, Speaker, Spiritual Director to stay up to date with the latest.