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al-fresco-2

To eat outside at a long table in Tuscany
is not available to me today, but I did find
money on the beach two blocks from home
and five happy dogs named Basil, Bessie,
Daisy, Rowf, and Magog orbiting
their walker and my feet like a wet-nosed,
furry galaxy, alive and eager with the possibility
of treats. None of us, clearly evident to each,
was interested in argument, debate, in victory
or defeat. We’ll save that, maybe, for a day
that isn’t sunny or worth living.

And then came Leonard, toddler,
with curls like an Athenian athlete, who
deemed me worthy by holding out his little red
football. For one long and happy stretch along
the boardwalk, he and I, we scampered, laughed,
allowing Nonna to catch up with his stroller now
and then. Only eighteen months upon this planet,
my new friend used two words—“ball”, meaning,
let’s play some more, and “no”, I’m not yet ready
to say goodbye to you. An honour it was to be
selected from a world of big, anonymous—be
careful of them!—strangers to partake
of Leonard’s day.

Giddy with the joy of things, I came upon
and bought an Australian cabernet named
19 Crimes with the stark and vivid label of
a convict from the transportation days when
Australia was a prison, and to be hungry in
the British Empire was a grave offense.
Homeward, with a pause at the Little Free
Library where fresh books from neighbours
sprout like alfalfa every day. These are
my events, my currency, and they suffice.

~~~

© Elaine Stirling, 2016

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