06 November 2009

poem-a-day challenge for november...day five

Growing Old

Everything was marshmallows
and running barefoot in the grass.
Giant pines, rubber boots,
trillium in the rain. The chain of
daisies made the princess.
Beautiful was dragonflies
and grandmother and calla lilies.
This is how the door closes: climbing a tree
in the backyard becomes a story
about climbing a tree in the backyard,
a story that opens the door
to memories, barely recognizable,
stories told again and again
until they gain significance.

Pierced ears, slumber parties,
a best friends necklace.
The knobby surface of a football.
The tremble of a kiss.
A boy who smells like thyme and
letters folded origami-style
buried deep in a pocket.
A strip of black and white
photos taken in a booth at the
county fair--found in a book of
american poems--the promise to
"stay cool forever" forgotten.

The black dog shot and
buried in the neighbors backyard.
The headache and vomit
of a first cigarette.
Being picked last, tripping
in the hallway, a bad haircut.
A boy kicked and punched
to death on a football field--
no one remembers how this happened,
how rage breached the thin blue line.

Falling leaves, frosted blades
of grass, a sun that sinks
too soon. This is growing old, this
is a story about a memory, a story
about the smell of grandmother's
pumpkin pie. About a hayride, under
the harvest moon. About climbing a
maple tree in the backyard.

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