To his daughter (who would be you),
“Let’s go visit your sister (who is named Alice)
And her husband (who is called Seth).”
And where do Alice and Seth live?
They live by the sea near Seattle
With their teenage children
(Who would be my grandchildren
Just as they must be your nieces).
The girls are beautiful and perfect.
Jane is the oldest.
She plays both piano and cello
With the Seattle Symphony
While Sandra speaks impeccable French
And captains her debate team.
We six arrive at the dock and set out to crew
On a picnic sail into the sea
Aboard the boat owned by Seth and Alice.
We toast the dolphins we follow
With ice cold champagne
As Alice and Seth serenade us with Vivaldi
And Jane accompanies on her cello
While Sandra serves us chilled oysters.
We talk of the people we love
And wish there was room for them as well.
You recommend my latest book
Which of course they claim to have read,
Exclaiming how it moved them to tears.
Once we anchor and swim to shore,
We walk the broad white beach,
Where you stub a pretty painted toe
And say, “It’s nothing,”
And though your nieces
Tease you, you just laugh
And ask, “Can I suffer from
Too much happiness?”
We all answer together,
“Not now. Not here.
Not now and here together.”
That night, once your sister and Seth
And your nieces (who are my granddaughters)
Have gone to their beds
We talk about all those I just made up
Just as I made up you.
I turn in the bed that creaks.