As the morning melted into afternoon,
translucent with summer light,
our neighbor’s plane roared on the grass runway,
then rose above the woods where we watched
trains pass and hunted toads.
At the sound of the small plane,
we danced and waved across the pasture
pungent with wild onion,
while mad crawdads scaled their mud turrets.
Then came a burst of orange silk in the sky—
and another, and another, like bright webs
floating to earth from a magic spider,
invaders from the world of clouds and stars.
We caught two of the tiny parachutes
and wrestled a sycamore for the other.
Beneath the umbrellas hung paper sacks,
knotted and filled with candy:
lemon heads, fireballs, chocolate, gum.
With our telescope that night
we counted constellations,
slightly out of focus in the cosmic sea,
blurred like fireflies in a blue glass jar.
After finding the man in the moon,
we said our prayers with the whip-poor-will
while crickets competed with tree frogs
in rhythms of nocturnal noise.
Back then their songs made sense
to our young and sunburned ears,
for all of us spoke the same language.
We still understood the voice in the wind,
and believed in the wisdom of owls.
Christy Effinger, Indiana, USA