Friday, May 15, 2020

Unwriting My Story

Let me spin my story anew
We didn’t live in Guernsey Hollow, so why would I care
if I might have had to snap potato bugs in a small garden
that we could have had across the road
on a little sliver of land beside a brook
that may have flowed there
and probably did for someone else
that really owned the property
and whose little children slept three-in-a-bed
in winter in the house that Harry Turner wanted to demolish
in some sort of frenzy to fix it up for re-sale
by tearing sections off first
and you could only reach the second floor
through a trap door in the attached shed
because the front stairway had been torn off
with that section of the home in the house
that Harry Turner would like to have rebuilt

I never spent a night in St. Albans Bay huddling
under a WWI army coat in a summer cabin
unfortuituously in the month of March,
never located snakes for my brothers
among the cracks in the rocks
on a hillside near the campground,
nor swam in Lake Champlain, no,
I couldn’t have done any of that
because we never lived there, never
breathed that damp air all one summer
before the job in the plastic factory dried up,
or would have, if my father had worked there,
but he didn’t, and he never brought home
sweet potato mouth organs and plastic whistles
to us kids in a small lakeside resort town
that we never lived one spring and summer in

I never lived in New Jersey, nor did I steal apples
from carts in second grade, no, my brother didn’t get hit
by a jeep driven by a guy who just came home from the war,
any war, but maybe one in particular that he didn’t come home from
and Mother said the guy thought he was still driving his jeep in Germany,
but she couldn’t have said that because we didn’t live in Paterson
over the Haledon line where they had the prettiest pansies
on Mother’s Day which my father and I didn’t buy
for my mother

No, the jobs in Vermont weren’t scarce
And I could have stayed there
So none of this would have played out,
I wouldn’t have moved to Boston
and if I never worked at Merrill Lynch
and never met him, never lived any of this, Dick Powers name
wouldn't be on a stone in a small cemetery in Brookville, MA
in Holbrook, MA

©2017 Muriel Thumm

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