Sunday, May 18, 2008

Two in a row by golly

I was reading from Ted Kooser's book, "Local Wonders, Seasons in the Bohemian Alps," and got to thinking about how much I remember from my days in Kansas as he talked about the osage orange hedges, and then about garage sales. This brought me to remember a poem I wrote about 22 years ago to a boy I went to grade school with. Kindergarten specifically. I shared this with a friend, and then shared it on so thought I really should share it with everyone. Someday I'll meet this boy again, and can let him know in person.

"His First Love"

I remember the heavy round wooden tables
Built low to the ground,
Just right for kindergartners.
He would always sit close.

I didn't notice.

Out-of-doors on the playground was a giant oak.
He made me an acorn pipe, then taught me how.
I made lots of acorn pipes, giving them all away;
Even his.

He stood quiet with little fists pushed deep in his pockets.
But I didn't notice.

The sun was goldenShining through high windows
Down on the low round table,
Particles of dust dancing merrily on the beams.

He handed me a present,
And as the royal blue paper with tiny pin stripes
Crossed the sun's raysThe stripes lit up like diamonds.

Gently opening the paper,
Careful not to lose the sparkles,
I could feel the whole class watch.
I was embarrassed.

Inside was a book about a velveteen kitten.
She was black and feminine.
She wore a pink bow,
And she was fuzzy to the touch.

I treasured that book.
As time went by I rubbed the kitty's fur
Until she was loved slick and smooth.

I don't remember saying thank you.
I'm sure I did.
Surely the teacher would have reminded me;
There in front of the whole class.

Over four decades ago - yet -
The memory of that special gift is as clear and bright
As was the sun beam that day.
And I would like you to know Jimmy Wilson;

That I noticed.

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