When I Was Sixteen
That summer in the warmest heat of the state,
where the hills roll with sunburnt grass and a few speckled bushes.
I remember the pools that glistened in the day,
a blue so clear it was as if we were swimming in the topaz sky.
Hot cement burned the soles of my delicate feet, and quick steps to the pool avoided the sting of pain.
I wore a blue dress over my bikini that swayed in the wind,
which I gently removed before plunging into the blue.
The viscous water caressed me in the depths where I hung stagnant, basking in the warmth like a lizard,
or splashing my sister as we navigate through other families.
My grandfather’s favorite part was the breakfast buffet;
And throughout the year he reminisced in the memory that revived every summer.
He was large and calm and followed us happily like a shadow as we perused the gift shop, looking at beautiful jewelry and feathered dream catchers.
He never complained about the heat
but as the years went on,
It took more energy out of him
to return to the pool,
and he stayed in his air conditioned room.
He wished for his ashes to settle among the mountains,
so that we could return every year and celebrate life.
We miss the blue of the water and the wafting heat rising from the earth, the times we snuck in at midnight to play putt-putt golf without paying, the long walks during a color splashed sunset.
This was before I understood that my grandfather was dying,
and that we would never return.
The memories will remain as such,
underneath the red tint of youth as we drift from the light. “It’s such a beautiful night.”