Grape

Grape is the flavor of my childhood.
The sticky sweetness that runs down your arm
as you suckle at a pop from the freezer
made with the Welchs from the store
bought just the day before by Mom.

Grape is the flavor of my summers.
The sweltering days of bike riding
and searing hot concrete beneath our Keds.
The lava hot black heat
beneath our feet
licking at our soles as we dash from yard to yard
trying not to meet our fiery demise
only to snag some ice cream and candy from the
jolly van of treats trolling our neighborhood.

Grape is the flavor of my bravery.
The courage found in my small body
as I stared down the high dive
at the local pool,
my friends waiting below.
Where my mom bounced a baby sister
or brother
in the wading pool
enticing me with a treat if I jumped.
There they all sat, treading water,
splashing about while I toed the edge
then fell
to make a ripple in the waters around them.

Grape is the flavor of my freedom
on that last day of class
as we celebrated with sweets and goodies
brought by the doting mothers
dreading the end of school days.
While they planned and executed our last day soiree,
we signed each others’ books:

Keep In Touch
Have A Great Summer
See You Next Year…

Grape is the flavor of my memories.
The soft edges of my blurred inner eye
remembering the bike rides down the hill;
pool days and bloodshot eyes from
too much chlorine;
Otter Pops; Kool-Aid; Jolly Ranchers;
frustration at my parents for sending me to bed
while the sun still hung in the azure sky;
playing for hours in the sprinklers till our hands
– prinkled and wrinkled with joy –
became the excuse of our mothers’
to turn the water off.

Grape is the flavor of my too short summers,
my too long school days.

Grape is the flavor of my childhood.

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