The French playground

by t t

(for Sylvia, August 13, 2018)

Bare-chested and tanned, a man
is whirling his little daughter
around the multi-coloured carousel
in the playground at Conde-en-Brie.

Three years ago, on this same carousel
in this same playground, your mum and dad
whirled you around, too. What fun we had
that afternoon in the French summer sun.

You are five now, Sylvia (five-and-a-half,
I hear you say), and your own sweet self,
so it’s the ghost of that toddler self
I’m searching for. She’s gone, of course,

and the girl and woman yet to come
will no doubt flower too late for me.
Time, then, to stop chasing apparitions
and cherish the here and now with you.

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