May 1, 2005

Ordinary Childhood



brushing past the crêpe myrtles,
their slim, shedding bark legs entangled
on the shadowed front yard of this house,

i see rebecca and her children
hidden in the silence
of their pacific northwest camper trailer,
parked against a red brick wall of a church

my grapes of wrath family laugh and play checkers,
swatting mosquitoes
hoping for a better licorice stick,
praying to god for a sturdy black mailbox.

And even at stan’s funeral the other day
mom and dad with their stoic, but engaged stares
singing remember me when you come into your kingdom
as if they had been with us all along,
comfortable pictures,
hands
firmly embraced on roger’s shoulder,
his ordinary childhood shaped and formed,
sifting sand and dirt through his green hands,
shoveled onto the pine box we have chosen to gather around, singing our songs of christian burial,
quickly rubbing our eyes from the bright daylight −
too much light and not enough darkness

too much information and not enough silence

we all dispersed quietly,
but the children who had lingered,
fascinated by a dead body they once knew,
wishing to sprinkle their own earth over him,
instead ate sandwiches and sprite later on at supper,
their collection of forks and knives piled up in the newly acquired yard of louisiana,
remained silent and grinned,
helping themselves to a bag of chips, tater tots,
hamburgers

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