Written in Albuquerque (Terrace SE), July 2009. A second attempt to poetically digest photos of my childhood and nuclear family. The first is uncollected (later discarded). Published in my books Tender Mystery and Wings of the Gray Moon.
Childhood was a fever where you leaned against someone
who watched you painfully. The time and the person
are lost in a golden smell, like a rare breakfast.
You can build that tall bewildered person however you like
and that tall time, when trees you couldn’t begin to guess
might as well have been a stone-columned porch
and made fun of your galloping clinging kind. Someone
was your brother, with a slow smile: someone whose toy you stole
screamed like wind. Closed sun of sulks
must have littered on you, whole afternoons
in an unjust bedroom. You can’t say. If anything,
you’d like the brush of short hairs on the neck
of the man toting you, the silent heat of the woman
next your bed. But even the bed (how that kept you,
whether it suffered) is down underneath the light.
You know these people from songs at most, not from photos.
The photos show a living little boy
with only a distant face, and still grass (stiller
than any world) and shadows on the land.
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