Surface Tension ~ Cindy Stewart-Rinier

The circle of smaller children

around Isaac’s poised hand

draws itself in like a breath


as he splashes bubble solution

onto the top of the concrete block.

I scurry across the grass, ready


with a standard scolding

about waste, but stop short

when I see him crouch,


dip the hot pink wand

in the pooled solution,

and with his face hovering


just above the wet surface, blow

a lateral bubble whose edges

join themselves to the cement.


He fills it with slow, careful breath

until it expands to the size of half

a cantaloupe. Then he pushes


back onto his knees, and together

with the group, watches color

swirl and pulse and shift


from turquoise to fuchsia

to tangerine and electric yellow,

from purple to sapphire blue,

until Dymon, the girl named

for the hardest substance

in the world, smacks her hand


down flat and the bubble shreds,

its ragged edges rising and falling

like the gasp of a crowd.


I tense again, prepare

for Isaac’s protest or tears,

maybe a fist flung in retaliation.

But instead, he laughs,

a laughter that says, Man,

isn’t that the truth? then resumes,


blowing a series of new bubbles,

sometimes going for big,

sometimes for the shapes


of ladybugs or flowers,

or burgeoning clusters.

And Dymon, of course,


always going for broke.

I watch off to one side

until the bell breaks


the circle, scattering

the children over the blacktop.

They call, Bye, Isaac, bye!


and then they’re at the walkway

again, where they all step back

in line. I bring up the rear,


a little humbled, thinking

beautiful, breakable, thinking

Yeah, isn’t that the truth?