“This summer, I did not” by Sharon Rauenzahn
This summer, I did not.
I did not get skin cancer.
I did not take my kids to Disneyland, or Great America, or Santa Cruz.
I did not take my mom to her family reunion.
I did not clean out the refrigerator.
I did not sort through the bins of old toys in my kids’ rooms,
That have been there since kindergarten.
I did not clear out the planters, or plant tomatoes,
Or install new flowers anywhere in the yard.
This summer, I did not even clean up the patio.
I did not buy the new car, or read the Patricia McKillip novel, or organize
Much of anything.
But I did, the last week, almost the last day,
Do one thing, just for me, just for beauty.
From the high bookshelf, from the dusty case,
I extracted the dulcimer
That I do not ever play.
I hauled it to the living room.
I put it on the stand.
I put a tuner app on my phone, tightened the strings.
I struck my dulcimer with tiny hammers,
With and without felt padding.
I made the room ring, sing, ring
With the joy of scales, badly played,
Notes missed, jarring discordances.
But I don’t mind that.
There’s plenty of time to begin to get better.
All those other summers,
I did not play my hammered dulcimer.
But this summer, this long summer,
Aug. 16, 2016 (rev. 10/1/2016)