Before we can remember, we were blind,
then reaching: stop signs, burners, cherries first
struck us as disconnected, undefined;
Then we worked wavelengths, firings in the head
by experience and talk, into a burst
that warns and tugs: the experience of red.
Thus I—you laugh!—moved the world’s middle point
for you, to you, most lovely. On our joint
land we shone dark hair, salt, laughing too much.
Under a pond of light our sons
play football players,
the stage after trick-or-treat,
run, hit, fall, walk;it’s familiar as the bathroom.
In the second quarter
a breeze breaks in
from late lawns and leaf-covered sidewalks—we’ve been breathing each other’s bloodlust and worry
while the air passed among houses
where grownups watched the news, children whined about bed,
people washed dishes, or made love, or were even alone.
to learn the simplicity
and silence of a tree—
My brother in the kitchen waggles his hands,
expecting ice cream, eyes round;
my parents stroke the paneling
in a shadowy room of the house they found;
the old one’s guard of poplars (felled now) stands
rubbing the yellowjacket sting
Memories get brighter as I go back
Will old age be
flashes of dogwood, or a grandchild’s face,
more and more rarely piercing the blur of memory
Gerald Friedman grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland and now teaches physics at Santa Fe Community College in New Mexico. He has published poems in various journals, recently Rat’s Ass Review, Entropy, Panoply, and Bombfire.