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.