Each morning my sister and I woke early to
eat breakfast. Over sugary cereal we’d pour milk
into absurdly colorful plastic bowls saved just
for vacation and head over to our inflatable craft
Bowls balanced on the rippling boat bottom,
we held onto the sides and smoothly kicked out
onto the lake, right up to the edge of where we
could go without being told we’d gone too far
We took our bowls out and placed them on the
water, as gently as building a house of cards,
then flipped our boat over on top of them,
ducked under, and deftly bobbed into the
instant secret hideaway of the air pocket
We kicked like mad, and ate our breakfast
that way – the lake’s surface our table. This
floating repast, rich and sweet, infused itself
into every sense: cool water to our chins;
warm air above, slightly stuffy; the way our
voices sounded both muted and echoey
This morning I eat sensible cereal from a white
ceramic bowl, seated at a wood and tiled table,
wrapped in a thick terry robe, sleep stodgy.
What’s the opposite of the buoyancy we felt
then? This bittersweet containment of age?
We were mermaids that perfect summer,
strong and facile, full of light and whimsy
Sheltered in our alcove, the sun refracted
through the water to reflect our giddiness
in moiré: rainbow colors bounced from our
bowls to dance upon our beaming faces.
Alyson Ayn Osborn
Alyson Ayn Osborn is an actor, teaching artist, and audio describer, writing and narrating scripts to accompany film and theatre for blind patrons. She’s a proud member of the Disability community, working to end stigma around mental illness. She lives with her animal family of one dog, three cats.