Thursday, December 22, 2011

Around Town

A little stark, barren and grey. 
Local congregational church with the nativity scene out front.
Just add snow, and you've got 
quintessential New England right there.

Woke up to blue skies. Warm blue skies.
Walked up to the church like I used to,
back in fifth grade,
up those two big hills,
on my way to school.
How long ago was it now,
little girls in pig tails
and blue-striped socks,
just walking to school?

Town hall's being ripped down
now, by a big bulldozer.
Gymnastics classes,
Girl Scout meetings (before I dropped out)
and Christmas parties so many
years ago now, I can't remember
the faces in the audience
at my elementary school talent show.
Poems for two. Young grasshoppers--
too young for shame,
for embarrassment.

Outside the library there's a mailbox
decorated for the holidays.
Bright red with white stripes,
the words North Pole spray painted on.
How long ago now
did I believe in such a place
of magic,
a place you could send your dreams to,
a place they'd be safe,
destined to come true? 

When did the courtyard become a mess of brambles?
Shouldn't someone take care of those weeds
outside the Kindergarten classroom?
Outside the windows of the secret passage
that connected the school to the town library.
We had to be quiet as we walked
single file
up that hall. Story time, a treasured tradition.

There's a break between songs on my ipod
and I hear the sounds of recess
coming up from the playground.
The sounds of joy,
the sounds of memories.
I'd only wear dresses on days when it rained,
because I liked the monkey bars too much.
I liked hanging upside down,
and it's not proper to wear a dress
when viewing the world from that angle.

Past the school, up another hill
and I'm in a meadow.
Several sheep penned into my right.
I've always loved those sheep,
so fluffy, so calm, so consistent--
they're always there
when I need to look at the most.
Don't know who owns them,
so I pretend its me
as I look out at the hills
as I kick a pebble down the road,
and wonder.

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