Thursday, December 9, 2010

The days of paper routes and phone books

We would sit in the cherry tree,
high up on thin limbs that could barely hold a breeze,
looking for fruit that had ripened yet somehow escaped the squirrels.

We would sit under the bushes,
inside the bushes in fact, where grown-ups would never think to look.

We would hide inside cabinets and closets,
sometimes hide so well we wouldn’t know
the others had given up seeking and turned to snacks.

We would haul the dog up to the tree house
and pretend we didn’t hear our parents calling.

There were screens on the windows, of course,
but just the one screen in the house,
the size of a sheet of loose leaf,
and we were forbidden to watch its black and white opinions most of the time.

The phone was attached to the wall,
which was fine because people rarely called,
certainly not during dinner.

We didn’t think it was idyllic.

It wasn’t. It was just the suburbs
and kids came home from Vietnam in boxes
or ended up like Uncle Ray, pumped full of lithium
in Pilgrim State for trying acid or being gay or both.

The girl next door got picked up for breaking in
and stealing mom’s jewelry while we were on vacation
and suddenly the cat was missing an eye.

A microwave was merely some mystery of radio relay,
so dinner was more likely to be cold...
and it wasn’t called domestic violence yet
even though the churches were full of folk music.

We would hide under the eaves.

We would crawl beneath our beds.

We would sit inside the bushes,
bitten by brambles, bleeding from needles and thorns.

But it was quiet there, secret and safe,
and no one could find us for hours at a time.

1 comment:

  1. The last stanza really speaks to me, it somehow sprung a rubber band around the entire poem, requiring me to go back and re-read, seeing the theme underneath the memories. Somehow at the end the boxing, hiding, stealing, screening comes together. What was hidden is revealed, form demonstrating content. Thanks for this, TK!