I spent my childhood mostly on wheels, roller skating
or biking in circles at the end of our street,
a row of Cottonwoods masking the tracks but not
the sound of trains at night. I was in nature
yet not in it. The suburbs were like that, curved rows
of ranch style homes with wheat fields beyond.
I remember lots of time not doing much. I hope
that’s still true for children but know it’s not. Even now,
I could draw a pill bug from memory, see the empty shell
left behind, watch the tumbling ridges roll down the street,
pushed by the constant Kansas wind. On summer nights
when light faded and windowed lamps marked the way home,
I pedaled a bit slower until I found the North Star. I still want
to reach them, want to follow that star and don’t think
it’s just a dream. It shines up there to be seen. Sometimes
you just have to believe even when life is full of empty.
Author of the poetry collection The Tethered Ground and Professor of English at Missouri State University. Contact me for readings or for workshops on writing/publishing and on teaching writing online.
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