I remember the fading smell of lilacs,
dirt, that purple puff of the alfalfa plant,
sun beating down on our hay chaffed arms,
and the rattle of the golf balls
as the tractor bumped through the rows.
Sometimes I feel hollow,
standing in the shadow of that weathered barn,
it is a ghost to me from afar
and a flashback to freedom when I stand before it.
I remember the straw bales stacked in neat, little rows;
one or two out of line
in the corner, a hideaway full of food;
My sanctuary invaded only by the coo of a pigeon
and that pungent scent of rotting wood,
dust, hay, animals—my life
in it all, among the echoes,
the thump of the hay hitting the cement below,
the lowing and murmuring of cows,
that mystical language from my youth.
I feel it now as I did then.
I see the buzzing of flies around
a fresh, steamy pile of manure.
The line of cows for milking.
The canisters of blue dye.
The cow towels that I hung yesterday
while perched atop the grimy freezer in the basement,
ducking down to avoid the cobwebs and other monsters.
I remember seeing the birth of a calf
and biking in awe and horror at life.
I witnessed a life manifesting itself.
The shouts welcoming it into our world,
I walked out in the cracked barnyard…
scent against scent…
Biking up over the sawdust and circling around the dry manure pile.
Then another memory burns,
the opposite of that miracle.
that odor that still I see in my mind so clear.
The death parade of that dim truck
rumbling away with a life.
We never understood, did we?
I remember lone walks back that winding lane,
it never seemed to end.
And that bridge,
my fear, which I one day overcame, of falling between the cracks.
“Dad, carry me! Dad!”
Later I remember sliding down the steep embankment
and hunting for shells in the murky shallows.
Then running back mud-kissed to speak of my treasure.
I remember hiding in between the corn rows,
laughing and giggling
I remember hour long games of hide and seek,
barn to barn,
shed to house
then falling asleep on the freshly mowed lawn.
I remember salads of grass ad twigs,
mud-pies and mosquito bites
and the freshly baked cookies my grandma brought over.
Sometimes I feel if I could only go back to it all,
to the stars in the sky
glistening like radiant beings—angels to watch over
the little girl climbing the old manure pit slats,
then perhaps time really would stand still.
Mashed up rose petals,
my own perfume,
that everlasting layer of youth.
It always beckons to me.
Scraped knees, scabs, and worms.
Riding my bike up the barn hill
and the adrenaline, that rush of wind in my tangled hair,
some exotic surge in my veins
as I zipped past the house and circles around again.
The rhythm of my father’s heartbeat
as I snuggled up close to him.
The distant sound of bugs,
the clanking of pans in the kitchen
and the therapeutic sound of dishes being washed.
I still yearn for it all,
that sense of being at peace with the world:
Ignorance and Innocence.
My nose stuck between the pages of books
and my mind wandering through the universe.
I had such a sense for something beyond,
that pull of love, which I now know,
but then it was muted
like the smell of freshly picked rosemary
and the memory of tiny beads of sweat on my orange-tinted skin.
The pulse of my life,
the honey soaked sound of the bow crossing the strings,
the whispering of sibling secrets.
cross my heart and hope to die.
The cheer of the holidays.
The decorating of the tree while listening to the Nutcracker.
Always the smell of baking, the scent that enveloped my mother: Blueberry muffins and scones
washed down with warm, freshly pasteurized milk
contrasting the chill of the tiled floor,
little squares I’d dance across in my faded, pink ballet shoes.
I felt like I was traveling through time
always drifting to some great unknown.
Something inside of my shifting towards that vast unknown.
I remember trips to the beach,
sand stuck in my ears
and the waves lapping at my ankles.
My father holding my arms ad spinning me out over the vast ocean
then climbing till my legs burned and my lungs tingled
and running full speed down that sand hill.
It truly seemed from that immeasurable mountain
that the water stretched on eternally.
The melting of ice cream down my chin–
the heat of summer.
Then the long ride back
past the mint fields and cars—that migration that still scares me, traffic.
I remember the thick layers of snow
and the rolling of snowmen.
“Find another branch,
we need two arms.”
I remember the sky splitting rage of lightning,
so terrifying and charming all at once.
The downpour washing away a layer of invisible dust from my peach skin.
I remember another downpour,
running through the sprinkler in my swimsuit
and then drying off in the sun.
I remember hopping onto the slant of the barn roof,
being careful to avoid the weak spots,
and gazing up wide-eyed
at the Snap. Boom. Clap of the colorful fireworks.
I remember the crunch of the car tires on the gravel way
as we returned from mass and munched on warm chocolate chip cookies.
The smell of the garden,
tomato vines and the snap of beans.
The garbage on the burn pile.
Roasting of marshmallows,
sticky fingers and smoky hair.
Soft serve ice cream and toasted grilled cheese.
I held his hand walking through the horse barns
and winding through the arcade, carnival rides.
It was all so enchanting then,
so far from the doldrums.
Soccer in the yard.
Catch with my tiny, gray mitt.
Whisked away by the winds of time,
it all sped by so fast
like I was within some twister all along.
The rituals of my youth:
The melting of crayons,
stealing of candy from the Christmas tins,
monsters lurking in the stairwell:
The din of it all,
the sweetest melody that ever penetrated my heart:
That Anthem of my Youth.
I want to let this poem speak for itself mostly but if you have any questions leave them inthe comments below.I love this poem.It just flowed so effortlessly from me. I did not know it was there until the end and it truly is the anthem of my youth.So Thank you for reading and commenting your thoughts.
-Wishing you the brightest of days,Eva
” Me and the pen, we are one. If its ink would cease to flow, my ink would cease to flow.”