After dinner grown-ups were ushered into seats

in the living room to see the show grandkids had rehearsed

all afternoon outside on the tufted green lawn.

Flashlights were spot-lights, a CD of “Making Whoopie”

oompha-pha-phad Picadilly circus music in a deep base

baritone just like the blare of the fog horn in the lighthouse

next door.

They balanced a pile of chairs piggy-backing on each other

like Cirque-De Soleil performers.

Camera bulbs popped as they stood stock-still for a photo-op.

They juggled red-white and blue balls, twirled a stack of platters

and a Mexican sombrero; lithe sun-browned bodies climbed

on top of one another, a vertical phalanx of bodies

reaching up to the ceiling, smudged handprints proof

they were there. King Tutankhamen couldn’t have designed

a better pyramid.

They rolled perfect cartwheels and somersaults,

assembled a block and tackle, nail barrels and a milking stool

from the barn for pantomime scenarios; little mimics miming

sad clown’s escapades, grimacing, smiling, slithering and sliding

under imaginary taught lines.

Bowing deeply like seasoned thespians to resounding applause

and shouts of “Encore!” they were reminded to brush their teeth

before being hustled off to bed.

When the youngsters left the tumult was gone and the house

grew silent.

Grandpa listened for the whoosh of the wind in the incoming

tide but was unsure if it was the sound of his tinnitus-plagued

right ear or the night long hum of the thirty year old frig.

The only other noise was the return of the mussel men

at dawn putt-putting across the bay to the reticulum

of white buoys that looked like the caps of Annapolis

cadets on graduation day just before they fling their caps

high in the air.

Milton P. Ehrlich 199 Christie St. Leonia, N.J. 07605