April 17th poem

Monday, April 17, 2017


Your small son comes in from playing at dusk and asks you What's happening now? What's happening in another part of the world? Dusk is like that, the air slows and hangs in place, the mind slips through time and space, and maybe you're walking into a kitchen in another part of North Carolina, bike-dusty and tired, your head knocking against your grandmother's hip as you greet her, which means, "All right, I'm done.  Wipe me down with a washcloth and tuck me into clean sheets." On your grandmother's dressing table are electric lamps shaped like oil lamps, the white glass with even rows of white bumps all over.  She has set up her surroundings, in fact, to evoke any number of previous years-- the rag rug, the turned bedposts, the old copy of a book about Little Annie Rooney on the low dresser, which book you are meant to leave alone.  The coolness of the air on your skin after she wipes you down, and the stars, and the smell of earth and box elders through open windows . . .  But sometimes she calls me Little Annie Rooney, you're thinking, burrowing down into your warm spot in the sheets, snug in your child body as your mind begins the plunk-plunk harp creep out the window and through the starry cool trees.

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