They are scattered,
Maybe all but gone now,
But I wish for a hint
In seeing them shine;
and maybe now
A beautiful kind of embarrassment
and not for me.
That first day, I was trembling hard
Away from mommy, the first time, pulled
From her smile and mommy’s tender-warm love
to the looming pale-green dome
of bus number 46 in ‘76.
Toward the cold, stern and tired eyes of Mrs. Katiner.
I spell it wrong now, and would get Mr. Yustock’s paddle.
Him, too, I misspell, but I don’t misspell you,
But she put me with the tall and pretty blonde,
more like a mantis than a unicorn,
but so pretty was she,
with long powerful
And lovely legs, for a child.
She knew I would not cry or tell,
so she kicked me hard for my sins
I had yet to commit.
Black and blue shins
All up and all down.
Her eyes flashed with a hatred,
I know not why
But I summed up the courage and stood up
No longer peeing in my pants
Too afraid to ask
I said, with big eyes and trembling voice,
“May I sit next to Renee?”
With long red hair and timid, shy face,
Glaring down at her coloring book,
I and she never said a word;
For 9 months
we sat together.
You were the first girl …
You were beautiful Renee
lived at the
END of Grisold Road
Whenever I see a little girl
With red hair and freckles,
I think of you,
Long-dead childhood roars back.
She is iridescent, like you,
And I, the hopeful child again,
Just wanting to have a true friend.
Just a moment,
our youth and beauty is tentatively back,
one lost through time, poverty, and neglect —
a fading —
AND persistent freckle of our childhood’s past.
Listen to the podcast of the poem here.