To A Pearl on Her Seventeenth
The prevailing Georgia dust mushrooms up behind the Accord
until a westerly seizes upon it and sweeps it on over the
east side of the Habersham dirt road.
As we curl around a wooded bend, we see an old house, long
ago left to itself.
The sill plate grievously bows down between the rock
pillars. It seems that the years have played with the rocks
just as a mischievous child might take things from where
they belong and scatter them about.
Oddly, the yard has been kept cut, even though there are stones
tossed here and there and dead oak branches are littered
about like battlefield casualties.
The house looks like it gave up on the idea of paint about the time
I was born back in '59. Only chards of glass occupy the
windows and the tin roof, where it still clings to the trusses,
has turned to a bitter shade of brown.
The early spring sky is brushed with a light blue,
Set against the fresh green of the leaves of oaks and poplars,
Hickorys and walnuts.
We pull up by the field fence that bars any from coming too close
To the memories.
My girl gets out and begins framing the scene for some pictures.
I love watching her and it's a time I will sorely miss when she gets
all grown up and has to move on with her future.
We both make mention about the same time concerning the baby doll
lying in the front yard, off the northwest corner of the house.
The doll is fairly new; it must be a recent addition of the years.
It has no clothes and is lying face up, staring at the open heavens.
Such a contrasting sight amid the rubble and hapless refuse strewn
about by the years, now very silent.....
The back of the hundred year old house is nearly broken and its ribs
show like that of an emaciated horse precipitously close to
its own demise.
Yet, the doll lies quietly and seems to wait for some little girl to pick
her up; but the fence keeps all out.
We finish and return to the Honda and trail behind us the cloud
of Georgia dust.
I wonder," Who was the baby doll calling out to?" A tear fights
to make itself known, but I hide it from my Pearl, my
dreamer, my once little girl.
I love you, Alyssa,
Dad August 3, 2005