I walked with Clarice today.
She wore a skirt with accordion pleats,
An angora sweater,
and real pearls.
Her black shoes had round toes and straps.
Like a doll’s.
Her hair in Shirley Temple ringlets.
They bounced when she skipped,
and she did, twice.
We didn’t hold hands.
I wasn’t sure if she would permit it today.
There is a park bench by the beach.
We sat, and she was prim, like a lady.
Her eyes were on the whitecaps rolling in.
She patted my hand and said
They took her away this morning. My mother.
I said a wishing word last night, and she wouldn’t sleep.
You are my friend, David, aren’t you?
In all of this crimson kingdom,
you’re the only one who can come with me.
I know you see it. The path.
Can you keep me safe? These are mother’s pearls.
I must not say any more words. Will you come?
And I am in fear now.
I know her path.
But, to tread it?