What is important to me?

What is important to me?

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What is most important to me?

The Family Patio 

By Erin Clasby

We watch tankers float along the horizon

The planes fly out of Logan,

Smell salmon seep slowly around the shingled house,

The fancy garden pillows lie on

Lawn chairs, soft mint green,

Up on the cliff, perched on the patio

Elevated high above the street,

Surrounded by a garden

Of reds and oranges and whites.


The screen door is always shut,

Keep out the flies, shut the door, shut the door,

As the sun starts to lower, rest on the Atlantic,

Family gathers on the patio,

Sing the prayer over the bread and wine,

Where, grandfather will

Repaint the chocolate brown boards with spring,

When birds and squirrels hoard around the bird feeder,

He will complain, they make such a mess, and yet,

Fill it up, always to the top to

Sit for hours and watch them devour.


When the sun is out we lie and tan, stretched sisters,

As ants crawl in between stone slates,

Our ice coffees melt with the portable radio on high,

And Grandma sits in her kitchen and watches

Through the screen shut door,

Watches the ocean and the tankers and the planes.


Sometimes, after a long swim, we emerge

Up the steep rock stairs, into the bright sunlight, find

Grandfather lounging in his lawn chair,

Sweaty in a white beater,

Glasses on the side table, eyes shut,

He'll wake up, turn the grill higher

To sit together, a family under the large umbrella,

And eat and laugh and watch the tankers float by.

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