January 18, 2003

Atlantic Avenue

If not for the trees
thick pines and
The sturdy willow
Whose branches
Held the frayed rope
Knotted
At either end
To hold my hand-cut
Swing seat

If not for the red barn and
Two towering haylofts
Doors underneath
Leading to musty rooms
Of tools and pitchforks
Arranged and waiting
To startle
Trespassing children
With clangs and rattles

If not for the braided rope
Draped from the rafters
Welcoming knees and
Sunbrown arms
Wrapped tightly
Digging fingers in
Drawing a final breath
As a helping hand
Sent us swinging
Higher than children
Should

If not for the cushion
Made of straw and
Barn swallow feathers
On the planks below
Catching us
When we let go at
the just right time

If not for your glossy
White bedroom and the
Tall antique bed where
You did your dying
in paisley pajamas
Dark circles where
Your eyes used to be
An oak tray table
Holding food you
Couldn't eat

If not for that farm
That barn that bed
Your eyes,
I wouldn't remember
A thing.

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