Vacant Lot

Three long blocks down the town's Peach Road, Past Pelham Circle and Pearl - how the names come back!

It was out of a six-year-old's neighborhood,

Three times as far as I'd ever wandered.

It was ragweed and goldenrod hot and sweet

And twice the height of the dog and me,

Exploring late summer territory - a maze

Of hollows and tracks, bindweed and morning glory.

I followed Pete, the dog, perhaps, and he, his nose,

Tracing the passage of possums and mice.

The day comes back in dreams or walking forty years later -

Nothing of my father's shouts or mother's tears

That must have sent me out of the house, or the knocking

On doors too early for Ria or Ann to be up,

But the smell of ragweed, wet in the morning,

The shine of spider webs, funneled and spoked,

The grasshopper big as my hand that spit brown juice,

The marbles, lost and nicked, I dug up and pocketed,

The pink in the throat of the blue morning glory,

The feel of the sun as the dog and I curled up

Easy in our weedy kingdom, dozing in the lap of the world.

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