Friday, August 22, 2008



Remy and Max are traveling like we did, but
two decades later and in the opposite direction,
by air to Austin from San Francisco to visit their
grandparents, our journey in reverse, gathering
as my sons did a community of friendly people,
children and adults, as if the world were actually
a family, kind — like the brilliant blue sky outside
our windows above the clouds, above cities and
towns, deserts, mountains, rivers and the news.

At baggage check-in they show me two roller
backpacks, identical style, different colors — one
with large pok-a-dots, one green, a row of small
stuffed animals in the front pocket of the girl pack,
both new. At the gate Remy asks me if I’d like
to color with her, and opens her book—new
crayons, a rainbow one with square edges. Max
wants to color too but she isn’t sure. I give
him a crayon and asked for help coloring the
front edge of the earth, or maybe it was a tree.

The picture is (maybe) a frog with dinosaur
scales that she colors with the rainbow crayon,
a flying thing, some golden brown grass (California
is dry in August), and a rainbow we add as
an afterthought. When they call us to board
the flight to Austin, Remy tares out the page
and gives it to me. I ask them to sign it which
they do while their mother, as gracious and
friendly as her children, quickly gathers
toys they scattered around, snacks,
extra sweaters, a magnet with lots of pieces,
and stuffs them into available compartments
in their bags. Earlier, in the airport, the mom
and I discovered we both had twins —
“I used to be freaked out all the time,” she
said. “I’m calmer now.”

“I think I’m still freaked out,” I said wishing
I’d known her two decades ago, remembering
how solitary I often felt in the face of their
vast energy and complex reality.

She tells them I have twin boys and that
those two boys have children, a boy and two
girls. They briefly glance into the future —
wide eyed, not ready to believe it, then turn
back to the moment where we happily color
a picture of (maybe) a frog, a flying thing, dry grass
and a rainbow that turns, just now, into a poem.

© Susan Bright, 2008

Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-fifty books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.

And now for a little geography, fast.


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