Grown Past

You can only cry in an elementary school classroom for no immediate reason so many times
Until you can cry over a voicemail of your dead mother surrounded
by strangers
drunk on a bar patio
Without shame

Two lungs deep in half a pack of cigarettes
Doesn’t taste as much like death as they seem
When the thought that you’d rather not grow any older
Rests upon your head like a too tight fitting hat

One winter of a cold woodstove
Wraps me in a sweater now as
I stand in a t-shirt refusing
To shiver in zero degree weather

And, next season, when the wood does arise
The three weeks stacking it from a jumbled pile in the center of your backyard
A child with unending armloads
And sweat as brave as countless slivers
Makes the pain in my left knee
Seem a nursery song that will
Sing me to sleep every night proudly
To the tune of cheap Canadian whiskey shots poured
Down my throat to an old DVD

I am like many
With lost childhoods that haunt them
Far more than unpaid bills and overcharged credit cards or
Wrists too grown to slit, memories too old not to flashback, loss too old to shed
I am of generations of children
Past adulthood
That hovers around the campfires of
Bar room chats, and facebook posts, and late drunken texts
Children that have aged and have grown bark-thick skin that begs
Not to be peeled back as the wrappers of popsicles
Melted in the heat of the years and the
Suns that have passed in agony, unyielding agony whose light bears
My fingerprints in the registry of a tiny child’s footprint and the smudge that comes of
A poverty stricken family
That lacks even the all too expensive, nonexistent photos of my youth
To prove any of this
All that remains of our childhood is
Our all too subjective memories and
The middle aged children
Left behind


One thought on “Grown Past

  1. Wow, Bill! This hits directly on a lot of my memories and regrets about our childhood. I love the images – “That hovers around the campfires of
    Bar room chats, and facebook posts, and late drunken texts” – tying the past to our modern day lives. I think you are developing your personal style more and more, and using your talent to deal with the past. Love it!! Becky

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