The Parade

(Inspired by the novel City of Stars by Mary Hoffman)

*

Look at the pretty flags, my child:

pink and white, yellow and red.

But you can't see the pretty flags, my child,

from a cold hospital bed.

*

I will lift you like a scrap of silk

so you may see outside.

I will hold you up by night and day

if you'll only open your eyes.

*

Can you not see the horses prance

with ribbons in their manes?

Can you not hear the drums, the pipes

and me, calling your name?

*

Can you not smell the roasted nuts

from the vendors' painted cart?

Can you not feel your father's arms

or the beating of his heart?

*

The flags are kissed by the summer wind

in a cotton-clouded sky,

but their grace is lost to my little boy,

who will never see them fly.