Voices on the Wind
Beginning with a line by Virginia Hamilton Adair
by Wilda Morris
All over the U.S. the porches were dying
and backyard patios were born.
No longer did we sit facing the street
as the sun settled into its nightly ritual
of disappearance. Some evenings now
we light gas grills. The cooks,
in their Fatherís Day gift aprons, talk baseball
scores and who might win the World Series.
While children play badminton
or volleyball, Uncle Joe tosses Teresa
a beanbag, challenges her to lob it
through a circle cut from a short plywood plank.
Blake turns up the radio to drown out
music from the neighborís cookout, persuades
Teresa to dance. As Dad waves them away,
saying, Donít get so close to the fire,
he drops a Polish sausage through the grate.
The fire sizzles, sending up sparks
that remind him of the fireflies he chased
in childhood. The sliding glass door opens
to a parade of relatives in summer shorts
and tee-shirts, carrying potato salad, finger foods,
coleslaw and condiments, brownies and apple pies.
Itís not the front porch on which we watched
dry lightning and sang songs together,
not the picnic in the park, but here in our backyard,
something of each in our summer ritual.