Madame Hooch

A character out of the Harry Potter series, Madame Hooch
flies around on a broom, a flying teacher
if there ever was one,
and almost as often she referees Hogwart’s most popular
game, Quidditch its called, doing with authority
what referees do,
instructing, warning the broom-riding players, issuing penalties
here and there.

He wasn’t drawn to the Madame Hooch in the story though,
but to the one dressed to look like her on the float in the
July 4th parade,
a Harry Potter float making its way up the street,
Madame Hooch in her black gown,
surrounded by other dark characters,
the fictional pretense
unable to hide her inherent energy, the short auburn hair and humor
that kept showing up through her playful antics.

Later on, the parade over, her broomstick and black gown
cast aside, she reappears,
still very much the petite, auburn-haired teacher
she’d always been
but bowling him over with her large presence.
No fictional flights and fancies, just real engagement,
her eyes requiring an honest response
to her perceptive nature.
A lover of children and their fierce protector,
she has managed somehow, to bring out the child in him
and just like that
they are new playmates, each beginning to live
in the other’s trust.

A Fourth of July celebration takes many forms,
a light snack and sipping wine at local inn,
was part of it for them,
as was free dancing on the sloping lawn
in front of a live band.
So, too, was sitting on a blanket on the hillside
in the midst of hundreds of others,
families and children,
in a sort of muted anticipation as everyone awaited
the coming darkness and the fireworks
And then the fireworks! An enormous display of color,
blazing whites and reds,
arcs of blue, booming with explosive power, all of it received
with appreciative “Ohs” and Ahs” from
the crowd of us below.

His own memory of the fireworks display, loud and colorful
as it was,
was something quieter,
the memory of him sitting in his ground-level deck chair,
she leaning against his bent legs, forming a backrest
for her tired body
the light from the fireworks touching her cheek
her head resting on his knee
as she briefly slept against all odds
and in complete trust.


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