My 74th Summer Vacation

I knocked on their doors
with no notice,
easy in the moment
the way I would greet
a dog, a lake, a tree.
Hello I’m passing through,
how are you?
The ones who were home
were easy in the moment too,
no time to rehearse.

One was washing her car in the drive
and needed a break.
One was about to shower
so I made the coffee.
One was leaving for the Meditation Center
and I got to join her for sangha

One was in bed making calls
to hearing centers, searching for the one
where she’d made her purchase
years before. I sat in her walker,
and we spent a lovely crazy hour
magnifying the tiny serial number at last
on the hearing aid she still had,
so she could read it off
to the places that she called.

I knocked on the doors
of friends I hadn’t seen in years,
and it worked, the way it works
when you say hello to a robin,
or a blossom of phlox in the woods.
One sat me in her back yard
and brought me a bowl of blueberries.
We watched the hummingbirds
under her old fir trees
and talked softly as if in a dream.
One showed me a music box
I gave her when I was fifteen,
fifty-nine years before.

I sat with one on his stoop.
His mail carrier climbed the steps
and stayed to tell me how,
seven months before, she’d noticed
the mail piled up in his box,
so she called the police to break in
and rescue my friend who had fallen.

One was in a nursing home.
When I knocked on the door of her room
with a plant in my hand,
she came to the door and bossed me –
blessed be – to leave the plant in the hall.
Then she pulled out a deck of cards
and we played the afternoon away.
One gave me grapes at her farmhouse
and read to me while the wind blew,
from a collection of all her articles.
One let me lie on her couch
while she removed a sliver from my foot!

One, my little brother,
offered a ride in his red Corvette.
Does a dog refuse a treat?
We toured the burg where we grew up
and in almost every house
he remembered the names
of families who used to live there.
One was my dearest sister,
and while she did have notice,
we spent each day as it unfolded
like riches that could never be depleted.

One was the lover I needed to see
for the closure we never had.
Her memory impairment meant
we couldn’t go back or rehash
but had to stay in the freshness
of the willow we sat beneath,
and the river that sang to us.

Faces I hadn’t laid eyes on in years
lit up with surprise and mostly, delight.
It worked, this knocking on doors,
the way it works when you say hello
to a deer passing by in the woods.
Easy in the moments, I found my way
back to fullness of friendships,
and received whatever they had to give
my senses all the way open.
The richest month I have ever known,
was my June of knocking on doors.

©Susa Silvermarie 2021

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