It is better for children to raise fists in square-capped joy,
to breathe salt air and ponder the unending horizon,
to dance like big folks, then double over with laughter.
It is better for love to accrete in beating hearts,
an aspiring star. It is better
for parents’ eyes to mist with salt tears
as they ponder the unending horizon from a wooden pew.
It is better for small hands to lift triumphantly,
safe in their parents’ grip. It is better for uncles
to dispense secrets of life in between sips,
for aunts to chart courses through narrow straits
in sacred circles of wisdom.
It is better to sit slowly, with creaking bones,
to watch children play. To gather them around your feet,
and tell them harrowing tales of near-disaster,
how you thought you’d never get away,
how there was mercy,
how you might not be here today.
It is better for long, dirty toenails
to be clipped and cleaned as soon as you get home.
To sit on the front porch while shadows lengthen,
to let the soil return to the soil,
to give something else a chance to grow.
-C. G. Brown
25 November 2021