Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2020  Vol. 19 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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First Carpool Retrospective

I wait in the white-cold sunporch
relegated to object with two spider plants

hanging above spears of mother-in-law tongues
sharp as words that shiver

as streetlights shower
the steep incline in front of our house

as my cotton ankle socks gather on the edges
of black velveteen lace-ups. I wait

as my mother disappears
into her morning coffeepot

and her daily crosswords.
I dream the waiting room

into a ghost ship that orbits
over the neighbor’s lawn

until eventually, the story begins
as if in a suburban fable; the station

wagon the color of disheveled
cornflowers hovers and blows

its horn for me. A kind of justice
to slowly descend the twenty-six stairs

to the carriage as my driver opens the door—
once inside to find myself—

to unite with the peaceful tribe
of Jewish toddlers who travel

on Beacon Street with no traffic,
no idea of traffic—no chaos or

crosswords. The car smells
from cigarette stubs and the forest of wet dog.

I listen to our bright chiming
so certain in our skins.

We are packages of Lucky Charms and farts,
stuffed in snow pants meant to last two seasons.

But I remember nothing
as much as the waiting—

the fever for another life,
like creatures that build their nests in hiding,

the new knowledge that hung inside—
a blue atlas, a legend, a leaf-lit hinge.  

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