Phoebe’s Sunset Sentimentality
By Felice Austin
I found out later
That she was on the roof with Lily
While we were inside watching
The sunset through the beach house windows
As it sailed on its canoe, off the edge of the world
Turning the water gold,
The sky a veil of orange.
If you watch a sunset sitting down,
And then stand up, you can watch it again.
I demonstrated for our guests, standing on a chair.
Later, she told me about the view from the roof.
Very young children rarely notice sunsets.
Why would they,
When everything is new?
Why would it be any more bewitching
Or beautiful than a bird flying,
Or a boy riding by on a skateboard,
Or the mole on your belly?
Now, she is six, my daughter,
Who is named after the sun.
She touches her heart as she speaks
“Mom. It was so beautiful.”
And I feel sorrow,
Like she is describing her own death.