You chatter and preen
in your seat
like a radiant bluebird-
your graduation gown
puffed out like a sail
that has finally caught the wind.
You have blossomed into
a wide-eyed sunflower-
your roots with your own tears.
all these days lie ahead of you
my lovely one-
all these glorious, shiny days
when the tiniest leaf will sing to you,
the sassy-mouthed river will laugh with you,
and every fluttering butterfly
will alight upon your hands.
From this moment on,
the earth’s journey around the sun
will seem to quicken,
and all your summer nights
will be limned with a million stars.
You will kiss and be kissed.
You will think this lightness lasts forever.
So take your diploma and gallop off stage!
Go roll in the grass like a wild pony-
free of the saddle
free of the reins!
Johanna Ely is Benicia’s sixth and current poet laureate.