Saturday, December 3, 2016

I Remember


I'm eight years old
and Mike is nine and
we're spending two weeks
with the aunts and uncles
in Queens

From the tip top
of a mountain in Pennsylvania
to the flat city streets
I remember
a room with two twin beds
at the front of the apartment
in Sunnyside
the 7 train rumbling
in the background
all night

I remember
Magilla Gorilla cartoons
every morning
and milk with dinner
every night
before a shower
Aunt Lillian uses Ivory soap
she has thick fingers
but gentle hands
for little girls
that she always wanted
but never had
but I'm allergic to
both milk and
Ivory soap now

I remember
our first baseball game
it's the
Mets vs. Cardinals
in a double header
at Shea Stadium
The Mets win both games
but we get there late
and leave early
and I'm disappointed
that I don't get to hear
the national anthem

Uncle Mike
buys us a bag of cherries
for the ride home
We spit the seeds
out the window of his car
into the street
like tiny savages
we don't anticipate
the convertibles

I remember Luna Park
printed in blue ink
on a little white
sailor hat
that I wear
for a sun-soaked afternoon
at the Astoria Park pool
in the shadow of the
Triboro Bridge
I think eventually
our dog eats it

I remember
the hot sands
at Sandy Hook beach
and Uncle Mike
teaching me how
to float in the salty surf
and now I can
float and fall asleep
at the same time
though some days
it feels impossible
to keep my head
above the surface

I remember watching
the evening news
in Woodside
with Uncle Ed
while Aunt Helen makes dinner
there's a segment
at the end on the search
for Broadway's next Annie
and I'm lying stomach-down
on a green and white lawn chair
at the back of
the driveway
softly singing
about the sun and tomorrow
to myself
and falling in love with
music that I can't sing

I asked Mike recently
what he remembers
and he said
while I remember
every city light
every subway sound
every mouthful of saltwater
every cherry pit

And I wonder
from my home
in the shadow of the
Triboro Bridge
where I would be if I didn't

~VoodooRue (12/2/2016)