fragments of a solitary scrapbook: Cam, Finn, Self St. Rage
Red-ice hearts hang from a light fixture mobile
fanned by the heater
I look out at the snow.
i wait at the corner, cold, she crosses, takes my hand.
Fairlawn N.J., memories of my aunt, age 3.
I build forts — in my closet a pair of glass candle holders, a fork, a knife, a spoon, one teacup and saucer. An individual survivor’s cache. My aunt shows me my cousins’ fort — what kind of cellar fort could adolescent boys create? I grow afraid. I make my fort of blankets and pillows in the crawlspace. First poetry; child-like, I eat cream cheese and grape jelly sandwiches every day. A fort under my bed. An overturned lamp lightbulb burns into the carpet. My life hides in closets, cellars, and under beds. A fort is not the same as a nest.
a small snack sized plastic bag of shelled Planter’s cocktail peanuts, ritual, in my hand; the pigeons land on on my shoulder and feed. Paterson, N.J.
wandering through backyards in my pajamas. A neighbor says, N, would you like to come in and have a bowl of cereal? Yes. corn flakes. no sugar. Oakland, N.J., age 5.
spiced ham on white with mustard eaten in a small motorized rowboat, while fishing. On the Esopus, NY State.
bushel baskets of apples in an unheated vestibule. Fairlawn, NJ
ants, inchworms, baby toads, schools of fish, spiders
titmice, sparrows, finch, chicadees, cardinals, blue jays
willow, birch, oak, elm, spruce, pine
— a mantra of remember
wrapping cut lilac branches in paper towels, taking in the intoxicating scent walking to school, watching my teacher putting my flowers in a vase on her desk.
a small path through the woods, away from the 1950’s ranches, Forbidden, we walk, scared, toward an old, small wood-framed cottage. She answers her door, a woman of at least 70, the Candy Lady. We take the tootsie rolls from her hand and run.