Sunday, March 29, 2009

Matthew Cox

Remembering, Reliving: Anti-Fading

Matchbox rooms
stood erect above a 
half hanging rail
that watched my
bumpy laundry basket rides.
The markings on the doorway
told me the previous family
was much taller than mine,
and I admired them.

My father spent weeks
making the shingles blue,
and I spent weeks
covering them with circles of dirt
in efforts to be
Cal Ripken Jr.
I heard the neighbors fights
the same time I realized
crawdads don't
live long in a glass box
full of sand and water.

My father chewed the peppermint,
so I chewed the peppermint.
We planted rows
of something beautiful.

My mother taught me
to fold socks,
and praised me when
my clothing matched.
We made giraffes from
paper plates,
and I always hid behind her.

Today I told a girl
that it would rain.
I really thought it would.
I wanted it to rain
because I know how she is
when it rains.

Today I was a genius - or a child,
because I believed it would rain.
And the same way
my grandfather died too soon,
not from cases of Natural Light
or cartons of cigarettes,
but because I stopped
tying his feet in the sailor's knot
he taught me long ago.
The simple pleasure of 
untying the knot
made him a child.
And unlike a Navy tattoo
on freckled weathered skin,
and the paint of the ship
he sailed,
a child's spirit never

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