Nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass . . .
Where did you go?
I lost you like that grape jawbreaker
I’d saved for last. I ate
the Raisinets, I ate the Junior Mints
and every night I sat late at the kitchen table
not eating the canned lima beans
or just-thawed peas, until sneaking them
into a napkin or—once—my shoe.
So it wasn’t all splendor, my parents
wandering offstage to deliver soliloquies
while my older brother chased the kids with knives
or smacked me with the butt-end of a bottle,
inventing synonyms for stupid and ugly
to apply to the noun of his sister.
It wasn’t all cocoons in the apple boughs
and flashing minnows in the creek-trickle
of my self-esteem. But there was something
in the air of you, O hour, if only
because you were fugitive, barely there
even then, glimpsed and soon gone.
Now I think I see you, gleam
of a Diet Mountain Dew can crushed in the weeds.
Cellophane. Pop-top. Glass shard
shaped like lightning. The god
hiding, disguised, so the one
he would love can bear
to open her eyes.