"Trampoline" and "Pinstripes" by Jason Melvin


tattered safety net

ripped sliding off its poles

in no condition to stop

an errant jumper

rusted springs rusted uprights

But it still has bounce

hedges stopped trying to get around

started growing right through

But it still has bounce

maybe I’ll just remove the net

clean up the springs

front flips belly flops

it still has bounce

at the peak of jumps

hair floating off your heads

laughter escaping lips

years go by in blinks

The last vestige of childish play

to leave this home

Everyone has grown


for a moment they remind me of my grief

as everything beautiful does when grieving

orange blocks in the sky separated

by the thinnest strips of white cloud

I’ve never seen a pinstriped horizon before

but I’ve felt this grief for two months now

windows down moonroof open

COVID mask dancing on the rearview mirror

Shit! I forgot about the papers on the backseat

collected before soccer practice every day

each one a teenage girl’s proclamation to wellness

98.7 97.6 99.1 98.1 97.7 97.6

Fuck it let them blow

the blocks of sky

morph orange to dull pink as I crest a hill

I can’t remember us sharing a remarkable sunset

I’m sure we had as kids

time spent lying in the backyard grass

calling out the shapes of clouds

I always saw turtles.

My daughter pops into the car

picking her up from girls’ group

A gathering of teenagers

proclaiming their love of God and chicken fingers

Check out that sky

I know, I’ve been watching

full deep pink now the thin white lines

now dark thick navy

Pink and blue the balloons tied to the dining room chair

for tomorrow’s gender reveal party

my first grandchild I couldn’t be happier

but the grief reminds me

as everything beautiful does when grieving

How that grandchild will never meet their great-uncle