Mermaids

Ocean City, Maryland

Ocean City, Maryland

When mermaids–laughing, young, and sweet–
Shift from flippers to ten-toed feet,
Beware of smiles that lure you there–
Of rosy cheeks and curly hair.
For they won’t stay that way for long,
And all you’ll keep is their sweet song.

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Hiding Spaces

Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland

 

I find you in all kinds of places,
Cozy, little, hiding spaces.
Cornered with your little schemes–
Mischief (one of many themes).
Huddled just behind the door—
And only you can say what for.
Under beds, half awake—
Giggling on a daydream break.
Crouched inside your quiet nook–
Lost in pages of a book.
Each spot is chosen well,
But they all have a little tell.
And once found, you seem surprised,
That your secret has been compromised!

Circus

Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland

In those three rings,
Are many things
To watch with widened eyes.

On that high wire,
They dare aspire,
To wring from us our cries.

With those ten clowns,
The audience drowns
In laughter and surprise.

At its mad roar,
Our fears do soar—
This tamer is unwise!

From first to last,
Our breath has passed,
In shaky compromise.

Note to Josie: Your first circus—the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey: Dragons!  You loved it.

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach, Florida

Cocoa Beach, Florida

At Cocoa Beach, I chased the sun,
And caught it everywhere.
Like all those shuttles launched nearby,
It blasted through the air.

At Cocoa Beach, I played in sand–
Grains running through my toes.
And soon the sand was everywhere–
My hair, my ears, my nose.

At Cocoa Beach, I stood in waves,
That had a pleasant beat.
And when those waves crashed upon me–
They helped to fight the heat.

At Cocoa Beach, the day was done.
I took my pail and spade;
Walked slowly back across the beach,
And thought of how I’d played.

Note to Josie: During lunch at the Mango Tree, you charmed a woman in her seventies, who was chatty and talked about the early days of space travel and the corresponding excitement in this area of the U.S. She said that in those days, you could expect to see an astronaut and his family having dinner in a local restaurant, and that Walter Cronkite would likely be there in a corner.

Pinball Pappa

The National Pinball Museum Baltimore, Maryland

The National Pinball Museum
Baltimore, Maryland

Quickly, Pappa pulls the plunger back,
And the ball shoots up with a very loud WHACK!
The table’s alive with color and light,
But Pappa has to keep the ball in sight.
Soon the metal ball finds bumpers at the top,
Bumping back and forth—will it ever stop?
Oh! But now it’s rolling down our way,
And Pappa has to keep the ball in play!
Whew! He strikes the button on his right,
And the little ball is back in flight—
Up a ramp, around a curve,
Hitting targets with every swerve.
The speeding ball is hard to track,
And then I hear a deafening CRACK!
But Pappa’s smiling from ear to ear,
And “REPLAY” is announced for all to hear.
Pappa’s good, a Wizard—I have no doubt;
But eventually even his talents wear out.
The screen above records his high score,
But, of course, the Wizard just wants more!

Bilingual

Baltimore, Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland

Pappa says “vad roligt!”
Mommy says “how fun!”
Pappa asks if “jag är klar;”
Mommy asks if “I am done;”
Pappa tells me “ta en tugga;”
Mommy tells me “take a bite;”
Pappa says “sov gott;”
Mommy says “goodnight;”
Just when I think I’ll never learn this — never!
Pappa says I’m “duktig,” and
Mommy says I’m “clever!”