By: Sanjana Bandi

you point out the arbitrary things in nature
enchanted by the halcyon bird, the brittle leaf
(disappointed when it doesn’t crunch under your sketchers,
not nearly as much as you anticipated)

the quintessential naïf, you are
delighting in those lopsided pigtails that bounce up and down
unapologetically wearing those neon days of the week socks
with two different days on your feet, for goodness -

you poke your fingers through the holes in a chain-link fence,
decide to start climbing it on a caprice of courage
wedge your wee feet into the gaps and get halfway up...
… before you fall
but you keep trying, inexorable

exuberant after a trip to the library,
you steal away with your armfuls of books;
the luminescence of a fairy night light guides you to midnight
as you flip page after page under the covers,
murmuring the words you read until lassitude overcomes you

one day, you clamber up the rock-climbing wall at the playground
you could never make it all the way up, but this time, you do
and this time, you never come back down
your presence was ephemeral, your memory fleeting
now, I am beyond you

you were my chrysalis,
but I would trade my wings to have you back
unfettered, you bathed the world in a radiant mist
I crave your blithesomeness, just a fraction - as now, I am desultory
the longer I am without you, the less I recall, the less I cherish
the simplicity of being a child