Beach Boy Flies a Kite

by Janet Bowdan

It’s windier than the day before but
they have the kite, a multi-color box
and he’s never flown a kite before,
only seen Charlie Brown frantically
running, even through a house, to
keep that diamond shape up and not
swooping down on him or tangling
everyone up in its line. And wonder
of wonders, this kite, labeled “easy
to fly,” goes up, stays up, pulls away
so they let out the string. It stays up!
The ocean crashes into the shore,
the kite crashes down unharmed; they
take it up again. Later that day, time
to go home: boy curls up under a blanket
on the ferry, sleeps all the way across,
and again in the car three hours. He’s
hot, he complains using the little voice,
and goes back to sleep in his own bed.
When he wakes again at midnight,
he is scared of the corner of his bed
that the sheet doesn’t cover. He calls
it “the quarter, please fix the quarter.”
I cover it, and he sleeps again, wakes
again at 3:30, this time asking if I can
tell them he couldn’t make the race
because he was sleeping. I say I will.
It’s better than the aliens he saw on
the walls in the last fever, if not quite
as bizarre.