Blog Post / Fall 2016 / Issues / Poetry / Poetry 2016 / Volume 47

1976–Jonathan Andersen

Everything was as dirty as a carwash bathroom
and pop-tops cut the light littering the sides of Route 1,
in those days still a long path of concrete sections we kathunked along
in our Galaxie 500, my father driving, alive, the sweat-
-stain halo burned into the upholstery above
his curly head. I had no idea that 58,000 moms
waited each day for their dead sons to ring the doorbell,
never mind millions more moms staring at trailheads
disappearing into mists and jungle in a land way, way, way
beyond where I, standing at the tip of the jetty at the town beach,
could see Long Island Sound become sky. I
did nearly have my toes run over at the pharmacy comic book rack
when the top half of a guy pushed by me with his wheelchair.
(Did he watch Ironside, too?) My Mom sang like the angel Dad wasn’t,
their laughs said I love you, to each other, and when
she finally kicked me and my brother out of the house on Saturday morning,
Dad’s spec 5 army patches sewn to our shirts,
we would land on a lawn filled with trees filled with birds:
chickadees and bobwhites, red-winged and regular old blackbirds,
grackles and crows. My brother waved his little flag for all the birds
to see and I worked the stick end of mine hard to scratch
the chicken pox deep inside the plaster cast covering my right arm.
We believed, not in anything, but in everything so far.
Each day seemed to last a couple hundred years.

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