Summer Snapshot

My two boys
fully dressed for the first time in days
maybe weeks
walked with me

I held the dog
pulling
pawing
as they ran ahead

High socks and bright shoes
so rare in summer
kicking up dust

They stopped
erratically
breathless from racing
celebrating the green
the rocks
the occasional scat

Much like the dog
but untethered

We imagined bears
a family, maybe
bumbling along on a midnight walk
pooping at intervals on the road once only a cowpath

and laughed

Shirts flew off
dropped

“MAMA, please don’t leave them! Carry them for us!”

For all of my hard edges
in these moments
I can’t say, “No.”

It took longer than when I walk alone
but not too long
before we crested the first hill

Sunset glowed red on bare backs
every movement accentuated
their magic palpable

It caught in my chest

The man with the scythe saw it, too

He said, “Hello”

Half smiling, his word held understanding
remembering
encouraging

So did his eyes

We turned back

Reveled in the moon, nearing full
the sweet smell of forest at dusk
stones crunching under our feet

Boys thinking out loud that next time
maybe they’d just leave their shirts and shoes at home.

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