The Swing

We sit on the swing on the back porch.
It is night–always night with my mother.
We have matching sun dresses that summer,
thin, red see-through material with tiny white polka dots.
The red–kind of scratchy against my chest,
the skirt sticking out like a weary tutu when I walk.

Tired, leaning against my mother,
my legs dangling off the front of the swing,
she sings to herself,
her voice, low, smoky, a little off-key.
I love it because she’s giving me attention,
and I’ll take anything she gives.

She leans over to brush a strand of hair
away from my face, and keeps singing.
The screen porch is in shadow,
but light shines softly
from inside the house.
My mother is like that too.

In the twilight world of almost-asleep,
she rocks us, pushing her foot
against the floor every now and then.
Holding her song inside me
reminds me to listen–
for music in the darkness.


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