Sunday, June 7, 2009

Verse: Sketches of Sawdust Road

It was
many things
in all seasons
but summer was
the best
a candy store
its aisles brimming with sweet
plump wild strawberries, blueberries
and blackberries
aching to be plucked, devoured

once I sold lemonade
and raised the price
with each glass dispensed
a natural entrepreneur
we rode our bikes
as fast as we could
down that hill
defying gravity
until the spill

My grandfather
was as constant
as a national monument
in his yard
or his shed
adorned with pictures
from the days
when he ran
a fruit stand
drove the trolleys
and the streets
were paved in cobblestone
not gold

a small cul-de-sac
and yet the longest walk
of my life
that one day in January
after school
my mom and dad outside
my grandfather's home
and the news that my grandmother
passed away in her sleep
the snow was crisp
brittle like cornflakes

So many times
late at night
I'd race down the road
convinced the passing cars
on the Bay Road
would take my soul
if they caught me

Each time
I return
I am my father's son
waiting for a glimpse
of his car
at the end of the day
then sitting in his lap
I take him home
driving down that hill
or, I recall the times
mom recited nursery rhymes
on returning from town
home again, home again

So many things I think about
the eerie calm of the lake
in the early morning hours
the snow-white afro-crowned
dandelions eagerly awaiting
any breeze to take their seeds
how the loons mourned
the dimming of the day
with their plangent cry
But what I remember most
is the trains
that broke my slumber
like a fever
refreshed my dreams
and carried off
the ones I used and discarded
a million unfathomable miles
deep into the relentless chasm
of night

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