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The Happiest Day

 It was early May, I think
a moment of lilac or dogwood
when so many promises are made
it hardly matters if a few are broken.
My mother and father still hovered in the background, part of the scenery like the houses I had grown up in, and if they would be torn down later that was something I knew but didn't believe.
Our children were asleep or playing, the youngest as new as the new smell of the lilacs, and how could I have guessed their roots were shallow and would be easily transplanted.
I didn't even guess that I was happy.
The small irritations that are like salt on melon were what I dwelt on, though in truth they simply made the fruit taste sweeter.
So we sat on the porch in the cool morning, sipping hot coffee.
Behind the news of the day-- strikes and small wars, a fire somewhere-- I could see the top of your dark head and thought not of public conflagrations but of how it would feel on my bare shoulder.
If someone could stop the camera then.
if someone could only stop the camera and ask me: are you happy? perhaps I would have noticed how the morning shone in the reflected color of lilac.
Yes, I might have said and offered a steaming cup of coffee.

by Linda Pastan
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