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Thursday, July 05, 2007


by Barbara Eknoian

The boys, first and second graders,
play in the pool.
The six-year-old has to stand
on tiptoes to keep the water
below his mouth.
They place Styrofoam noodles
between their legs and pretend
they’re riding horses.
Jordan floats on his back
dreaming up a game.
“Let’s play you can be anyone
you want to be in the world.”
Then he whispers in Tai’s ear.
They both laugh.
I overhear “Tony Hawk,”
“Cat Woman.”
Jordan says,
“Cat Woman isn’t real.”
Fate allowed them to be born
in mild, sunny California .
No need to alarm them
that the world beyond
their backyard is unstable.
The war in Iraq ,
children just killed
in Afghanistan .
They don’t know the word,
hunger, as the children do
in Darfur or Malawi .
They row across the pool
on large tire floats,
splashing and laughing.
For now,
their juice and cookies
are set on the table
in the shade of the gazebo.

Barbara Eknoian is the first recipient of the 2002 Jane Buel Bradley Chapbook Award for her chapbook, Jerkumstances. She attends Donna Hilbert’s poetry workshops in Long Beach, CA.