~pinky swears



our breath smelled like gumballs

and we took turns counting

freckles on the other’s nose

it was summer before second-grade, 1973

we were best friends forever, lisa and I

two peas in matching pigtails and polyester

bonded by pinky swears

we hung upside down from her maple tree

squished footprints in mud

along the edge of her frontyard pond

laid in thick grass for hours

whispering how we wanted to

kiss scottie denoon behind

the big playground sliding board

because he was the cutest boy in school

we answered all the important questions

seven year old girls have

with daisy petals and magic 8-balls

made wishes on shooting stars and

fallen lashes

          and I used to wish most of all

          that my eyes could be the same

          shade of blue as hers

          it was like god himself cut out tiny 

          circles of sky

we spent every weekend together

on bicycles and horseback

danced together, skipped arm-in-arm

chased butterflies through wildflowers

beside her pasture field

discovered the beauty in flight 

and the significance of wings 

she was absent from school when

her dad called my dad that friday evening

me, busily packing my holly hobby


some kind of flu, they thought and

we would surely play together the following


she collapsed in the driveway, riding her bike

          an aneurysm burst in her brain

she died in her mother’s arms, in the rough

gravel, her blue eyes open, staring heavenward

          she was seven

          and we were best friends forever

when my youngest daughter was born, she had

those same eyes, carved from a summer sky

it was a hot july day that we brought her home

from the hospital, sat her carseat on the picnic table

as family gathered around to meet her and almost

immediately, the most beautiful brandeis butterfly paused

on my shoulder, fluttering, as if to remind me of 

          the beauty found in blue and 

          the significance of wings

©  lori hamilton


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