by Gregory Djanikian
We have been cruising, half a block
at a time, my wife, my two children,
all morning, and I have been pointing out
unhurriedly and with some feeling
places of consequence, sacred places,
backyards, lush fields, garages, alleyways.
“There,” I say, “by this big cottonwood,
That’s where I dropped the fly ball, 1959.”
“And in 1961,” I say, “at this very corner,
Barry Sapolsky tripped me up with his gym bag.”
My son has fallen asleep, my daughter
has been nodding “yes” indiscriminately
for the last half hour, and my wife
has the frozen, wide-eyed look of the undead.
(the rest of the poem is at the Poetry Foundation)
I'm leaving tomorrow to go home for a week. I will walk and drive around town remembering the minutiae of my growing up years in much the same way Djanikian remembers his. The Ben Franklin where I worked one Christmas break and where I bought macrame and decoupage supplies. The sewing shop where I took lessons. (I think we made halter tops.) The monkey bars Jay fell off head first in 4th grade. The smell of Orth's Department store. The library (now the City Offices). The swimming pool where I spent most every waking hour of every summer from ages 5-18. The alley where we detonated Matchbox cars with firecrackers every Fourth of July. The lilac bushes I picked flowers from on the walk to school to take to my teachers, assuring them that yes, the flowers were from our yard, when they knew good and well that there were no lilacs in our yard. And places that now exist only in memory: the pond at the old golf course, the old swimming pool, the bowling alley/roller skating rink, the Dairy Queen.
What's your favorite memory of your hometown?
Heidi has the Poetry Friday roundup this week at my juicy little universe. Head on over and leave your links there.