Perfect Joy

I have known joy

But it was never perfect

Few things are

But I have heard perfect laughter

Laughter filled with pure joy


As a matter of fact

My blue-eyed daughter

Made that sound

Once when I bought

A battery-operated car

That she could ride in and drive


She was only four

And not too sure about steering

It was fun, but awkward

She kept having to stop

To stay on the sidewalk

Or to keep from hitting something

But all at once in the driveway

She had the wheel turned

All the way to the left

And was making big circles

Round and round

Going faster and faster

All at once it was fun

So much fun

She started to smile

And then tossed her head back

And out came this perfect peal of laughter

Full of joy

Perfect joy for this second

There are sounds that will shatter glass

This one shattered my heart

And brought tears to my eyes

Oh, to have such joy

Even for a second

I did not know I would ever hear it again

For the winter before

She had made the same sound

As we went out for Halloween

After the first couple of houses

She realized

That she could go on

From house to house

In her costume

And people

Strangers would give her candy

Fill her bag with candy

She had asked me

If she could go to more houses

After the first two

And asked if everyone else

Would give her candy, too

When I told her yes

That’s Halloween

She grinned and turned

And started to run to the next one

As she did, she threw back her head

And there it was

Perfect laughter

Perfect joy

Those two moments

I hold deeply in my heart

I can hear the sound now

Still ringing in my ears

And filling my eyes with tears

As I think of those perfect moments

So full of joy

The years have brought

Other things to us

Years always do

She has grown and grown

To be far more beautiful

Our times were not always full of joy

There is a distance between us now

And there is no one to blame

But me

I tell her how much I love her

And how proud

I am of her

She hears, but she really doesn’t know

I know she thinks of times

When things were tough between us

When choices I made were not the best

Certainly not the best for her

They were the worse years of my life

One mistake after another

And I pay for them

Every day now

And every time I tell her

How much I love her

And miss her

Knowing she hears

But she doesn’t really

And doesn’t know at all


Delray Beach, FL

(Where I live, but it’s not home)


3:49 P.M.