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Ursus Minor


B.J. Wilkinson 

My youngest's first
sweet asleep
upon his back
upon the old picnic table
a towel beneath
his perfect form
in shade of pine, and palm, and me.
The pine sighs
her widow's sigh
of memory and acceptance;
the palm goes on and on
in the dry, soft clatter of her fronds;
and I but cover him
in my gaze
in my penumbra
and slip from this gauzy afternoon
into his aqua dream....

my papa watches as I sleep
leans down to smell
the summer lake
still damp upon my hair
of all we've seen today
I take the dream
of the wond'rous poder bears...

Within his dream,
our long fur trailing,
as bright, white sea moss
from our strong hind legs,
our black pads flatten
against the glass
where children's noses
press against the people side,
as we push off,
gliding upward
and break the sudden surface
into the singing air....

my little paws
draw little arcs
of tiny silver bubbles
until I swim the air above
dripping diamonds down
upon the shiny surface
the children's squeals
all silent as they watch us
climb and swim the sky...

and so we swim the day
until the sun grows tired
until he goes to bed
and nana luna's soft white face
smiling as we chase
the comet squirrels
beneath the southern cross
and past the frightened Pleiades...

I nudge my little bear
so that we gently bank
and slowly close
the wide and holy circle
of the night,
and snuggling up beside me,
we constellate eternal
above the drooping eyes
of childhood
that hold the dream
not yet forgotten
of great celestial bears
pointing true north
for swimmers yet to be.

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