Monday, May 13, 2019

Runaway Memory


behind the library
that used to be the grammar school
where the old yellow bus
cranked open its doors and
spilled us out like
so many windup toys from a bucket
there’s a patch of mowed grass
smothered in bluets
and dotted with white violets
surrounded by pine trees
I clearly remember sitting under
with Donny and Raymond
my two best friends
since none of the girls would
play with me given I was fearfully shy
and dressed in the fringed cowgirl
skirt I got for Christmas
instead of a twirly skirt with crinoline

many of the venerable pines have fallen
since my school days
their brick colored insides scraped by a foraging bear
looking for grubs, maybe
(I saw the claw marks in the soft wood
and the dark distinct mass of its calling card
in the grass at the top of the knoll)
Pine Knoll they called this place
the stretch of green grass that grew straight to the edges
before dropping off in root-gripped cliffs that fell to the swamp
a great circle of grass humps and fetid water I once escaped through
darting off in the opposite direction when
Teacher headed the line into school after recess
sliding down a short cliff and hummock-hopping
my way to the main street before hooking a right onto
my home road and showing up at the door
startling my mother.

She didn’t send me back that day
let me sit instead on the porch swing with my PBJ
and a glass of milk contemplating my deed
I still don’t regret it and only wish escape was as easy now