Birds of Apolonia, Tales from Araceli

from the archives: originally written & shared September 2018

Polly’s reading chapter books 
Araceli counters, well, “I’m only 2.”

They both continue to amaze me.

On the playground, 
creating elaborate detail
no matter what we play.

It’s Sunday morning.
Araceli is going on and on
with an idea I can barely follow

until she calmly, assertively 

“Auntie Al, I have to poop.”

Polly & I hang back 
while Araceli heads to the BP with Jay 
to take care of business.

We sit at the top of the slide and wait for them
and Polly teaches me a thing or two
like usual.

Later, we watch Mister Rogers 
and Daniel the Striped Tiger will sing
a song about how it’s hard to wait.

Araceli wraps a cat toy in her blanket
Polly puts her hand in mine
and I couldn’t love them more.

We jump up on the slide
as they return to the playground
Araceli bounds back 
in her little red pants
and new yellow tee
with cats on trampolines

and we’re back to the storytelling.

It’s something else entirely.

and they’re gone —
I’m listening to Jenny Lewis 
and cooking brussels sprouts
And thinking about them.

It’s the way Araceli woke me up on Saturday
by talking to me as if we were mid-conversation;

It’s the way she calls, “Peach!” to the cat
and is delighted when he eats the treats she throws down;

the way she put her stuffed cat Bubba
on the ground by my bed (“if Peaches sees Bubba
then he maybe won’t be scared
and he’ll get used to me,” she explained).

Meanwhile, Polly’s engrossed in her third book of the weekend.
She’s stretched out in the chair,
the chair that’s mine that was my mom’s,
skinny brown legs crossed —

Not even fazed for one second
that I knew the main character was named Karen
Because I, too, used to drown out all the adults 
and everything else around me 
engrossed in a Baby-Sitters Little Sister book
on a Saturday afternoon.

When the girls are gone,
I consider how different my couch looks

without Pinky and B
George and Bubba

Araceli, Apolonia & Me. 

Fred Rogers was right,
of course.

There are many ways to say I love you.

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