I have been too lazy to make fresh
lemonade for a long time,
but today, I stop at my neighbor’s house
where her six-year-old daughter is learning to be
a businesswoman.

Every Saturday she sits on her front lawn
behind the stand she helped her father build,
sits in her little chair and makes sure her lemonade
is cold with ice and fresh with lemons
her mother cuts and keeps in the fridge.

I usually leave lemonade in the past
where she tries on cute sundresses
and waits, a wallflower of memory,
but this time I indulge, ask summer for a dance,
let lemonade kiss my lips for .50 cents a try.

And it is as I recall:
like sunshine syruped over clouds,
shimmering like the castle I once knew
would be mine when I grew up,
like the language of love—

fresh and tart on my tongue–
demanding attention that I willingly
drop everything to give. The world stops.
And I promise the little girl, dropping a dollar
into her cup, that I’d be back for more.

About the Poem

Two things inspired this poem: The first is that my sister makes the best lemonade, but I just can’t get it right, so I never make it. The other is that when I read this article, the news made me happy for once: kids were innocent and a cop was not being torn down. It is the kind of news that I wish there was more of. It is my optimistic hope that if more good was publicized, more good would happen in the world.

About the Author

Julene Waffle is a writer who graduated from Hartwick College and Binghamton University. She is a rural public high school English teacher, an entrepreneur, a nature lover, a wife, and a mother of three boys, three dogs, and three cats. Her work has appeared in The Adroit Journal, NCTE’s English Journal, La Presa, The Non-Conformist, and Mslexia, among others. She was also published in the anthologies Civilization in Crisis, American Writers Review 2021, and Seeing Things (2020), and her chapbook So I Will Remember (2020). Learn more at www.wafflepoetry.com, Twitter: @JuleneWaffle, and Instagram: julenewaffle.

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