Sidewalks

Walking down
The sidewalk again, pensive,
I see my current path of life
Broken into squares,
Cracking in places,
Dotted with wads of old gum.
As mind wanders from body,
The involuntary me takes over.

Sitting on the hill
By the old pond, Poppie fishes while
I run through the swaying tall grass.
I look down and watch
My feet, running.
I look back up and see
The playground. There’s my reflection
In the metal slide,
Vaguely me.
Leaves flutter over the vague me.
Catch one,
Mom says, but I can’t running around enar the apple trees
At the edge of the woods.
I pick a fresh one, brown spots on the skin—
Now that’s a real apples,
Dad says,
Straight from God’s candyshop.
I ask Harvey for candy,
But he only has cheese crackers
And Pepsi.
Harvey quit reading the paepr because it’s all bad news,
Just stared reading the bible and
Found God.
When he died,
They burned down his
Drooping blue
House.
Doesn’t seem right to burn down a man’s house just because he’s dead.
Harvey had stories,
I always meant to ask,
Of fighting the war,
Like Daddy Pop.
Daddy Pop had to kill men for their boots,
Blew men’s heads off when they were right at him.
And I’m right at him,
In the room with the wood-paneled walls,
The smell of blue-carpeted floor,
The world’s loudest ticking clock.
He gives me juicy-fruit from his drawer and
Says he loves me like
He does every time I go over,
And right before I lave
I say I love you too,
But I know that he means it a lot more.
The juicy-fruit loses its sweetness fast.
I used to chew it until the flavor was gone
And then I’d put another piece in, and another
Until I had a great wad of tasteless gum.
Now, Daddy Pop is that taste to me,
And the taste is something unattainable,
Of the utmost importance.
I don’t chew gum anymore.

But if I did,
I wouldn’t throw it on sidewalks.

~Hunter Williams Carter

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