Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Sat on the Deck Railing

Here's another poem in the series I'm writing about my childhood home. Actually, it seems to be developing into a series about my childhood, though everything is linked to that awesome blue split-level.

It's still hugely cathartic. This one turned a sad little weight into a victory for me. It's still in progress, but here is goes:

I Sat on the Deck Railing

I sat on the deck railing before school that spring morning.
The air felt like it was not there, just
Scents of new grass and possibility,
Sun on my skin.

Lingering on my way to school, noticing my breath, I
Shocked myself with an urge to walk past Wilson School and
Into the day. No rule-breaker at 10, I
Let that drift through my mind like a cloud.

The cool darkness of my school’s
Cavernous foyer, vast and formal,
Engulfed me.
Steep stone staircases lined each wall,
Another wider, shallow one straight ahead.
Old-school school.
It was not beautiful to me then, while
Spring beckoned through wide wooden doors, and I
Grieved that I could not grasp that perfect morning.

Yet here it is in my head at 40,
Tactile snippets from my backyard, my slow trek,
The plunge from the sensuous morning into the cinder-block
Reality of school.

Where is everyone else?
At home my three brothers,
My mother must have scrambled about.
Gangs of kids surely lined the sidewalks en route to school.
Voices undoubtedly echoed riotously off foyer walls, but
They are gone.

Three decades later, I stop grieving and find
I’ve won. I’ve kept only the gist,
The perfection of that spring morning:
Weightless air, scents of a world reborn,
Serenity of a solitary moment in my old backyard.

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