Poetry

An Answer to the Lanyard

The assumed wisdom of age
still fails me from time to time.
My childlike faith in my worthless gifts
seemed so foolish when I looked back,
like Billy’s lanyard.
And, like him, I was convinced
that somehow they made us even.
And so
the deluge
of dandelion bouquets
and fired clay blobs
and crumpled drawings
slowed
to a trickle
as the years went by
and eventually stopped
as wisdom devalued them,
and maturity diminished them,
as inadequate, childish excess.

But life has lessons yet to teach me.

The offerings pour in —
ceramic handprints,
half-done chores,
wilting dandelions,
crumpled drawings and devotions,
pressed into my hands with childlike faith,
received with kisses and cuddles.
Pearls beyond price,
displayed in a place of honor.
And suddenly I realize that —
oddly enough —
I had it right the first time.

DeAnna Burghart is an author and editor currently based in Houston, Texas. The dandelion bouquets have long since dried up, but there are two dusty lanyards in the treasure box. The debt is paid.

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