Cutting across lawns through backyards
of neighbourhoods I owned as a child
I knew every crack in the sidewalk
every tree that curved overhead
before the shade was taken away
every swing that threw my sandals
over sand - the berry bushes that
stained me, replaced with metal fences
the gully behind the elementary school that
contained my secrets, my unknown world -
condemned & forbidden in my present life,
mostly self-imposed restrictions & realities.
back to the time I first ran away: now, I do
not remember what that girl was thinking -
what she felt, except that intense exile-eration
coursing through her body, the city, as she ran
one block, then two, feet slapping pavement -
slapping, slapping; running through memory.
flashback to the front step, watching rage,
as her dad took off on his ten speed bicycle
a motorcycle leaned on the stone pathway,
& the hill she would roll down remembering
how the sidewalk
used to be before the city
made it more road & less green
surrounded by those she knew
from Sunday mornings awoken
by the sound of people laughing
happy sunshine gathering to greet her
at the window that is no longer there -
a lot of things long since disappeared.
I understand why he rode off, and I
have come to know why he only went
a few blocks before returning - when
we are trying to prove a point, I think
it’s mostly to ourselves.
everyone else just looks on to see;
curious about where you are going
and wondering if you will be back to
tell them what you learned; if anything at all.
- adp, 04 December 1998 / edited: 17 June 2006