The magnolia stirs you with fantastical flowers
and just like that some loose part of you
scurries off and becomes a child, wanders under
rustling green canopies, blossoms fluttering
atop your shoulders like scented butterflies.
Then there is a building, a stand-in for a homely castle.
It beckons you, so you pause.
The oval of stones is formidable; the steps
are welcoming, and when a man
who was sitting and in his own reverie leaves,
you approach, eyes half-blind in sun’s shine.
It is not the castle of a childhood domain
made of birches, nor a garden of serpentine paths
and a scarlet bridge across a lotus pond. Nor even
the backyard with pines and the Kwanzan cherry tree
dazzling with fat, fluffy blossoms that decreed winter over, done.
It is not like stone churches where you
were given to shivers of visions as music soared.
But this sturdy oval means more than its simple parts,
a resting place for, say, an explorer-empress
with attendant froggy friend, a chorus. The gathered
trees are nodding with beauty, and living breezes
skimming grass, leaves, water, skin.
She–the child you were or wanted to be–
reaches the threshold, turns to smile,
slippers on feet glistening lilac and gold
as she steps up. And vanishes.
It is a tear in the veil of time.
A chimera you cannot see long.
A reminder that recalls all the innocence
that sings in the small vessel of a child.
The moment is a kind hand hovering
over your head like a benediction from afar,
and you hold it close and move on.