New Orleans Honeysuckle: Gramma’s Backyard

Honeysuckle vines spill over the fence, falling like a fountain, cascades of bright green.
The white flowers in my grandmother’s backyard look like tiny, delicate bells
I tenderly bring the clear drop of nectar to my lips, tasting its sweetness
The sweetness of childhood, innocence.

Pumping my legs on Gramma’s wooden swing, gripping its thick ropes
Hanging from the old, wise oak tree with branches stretching to the sky
I look up at him in wonder while I swing
Watching my own feet as they propel me higher and higher
My hair swings back to slap my face each time, a quick sting like a bee.

I’m wearing white socks folded down once with my brown sandals
I can see the light brown hair on my legs, the scar on my right knee
From when I fell off my bike the year before.

My mom does headstands on the old blanket in the middle of the yard, making us laugh.
She is thin, beautiful, talented, full of fun and light. Her feet are bare.
I can’t stand on my head. But she can do everything.
And her feet are much prettier than mine.

I don’t take off my shoes after I swing–
The St. Augustine grass is rough and crunchy and makes my ankles itch.

Can I make myself new again?
Can I start over, a slate wiped clean?
Innocent like that day in the backyard.
It’s time for a swing.