“Whoa, I was toasted” by Sasha at Knowlton Lake

Friday April 3, 2020
12:33pm
5 minutes
Ode to American English
Barbara Crooker

Lola kisses my belly in the bath over and over
“Your old house!” I say the first few times
she keeps going and I stop talking or pepper a “thank you”
a “thank you, my love”
her cherubic shape all convex freedom beauty
four top teeth commander
a wrinkled nose smile
Lola kisses the stairs she’s just learned to climb

a few tumbles when she’s wearing her brown bobbly slippers
when she test the limits of her strength
her capability brings her boundless glee

so much so that as she races towards my outstretched arms
stepping stepping step step step
She falls
a look of
“how could I?”
I wait a long wait
feels long
Will the tears come?
If they do
I scoop up under her armpits with my hands
Feel my mother’s hands in my armpits
Tempering and soothing so many falls

“You fell” I say
“Let’s keep walking”

Lick a tear from her cheek
a juicy plum
Smell her hair
orange and soap

Lola kisses the baby doll
sinks her teeth into the plastic foot
“Bee-bee! Bee-bee!”
She calls for her father in the morning
with a voice bigger than I’ve ever heard her have
When did she become this mystery concerto?

“Da-da?! Da-da! Da-da?!”
“Lo-la!” He calls back
“Hi honey!” He says