Slapping the pacifier on my back
I’ll work, I’ll work…
Words never formed as the air
Vaccumed out of my lungs.
Oregon house in flames behind me
Headless chickens in the yard.
The small dawn hours of crepuscular things
Puts me back in time.
The home of myth in Mosier where
Killing chickens, sleeping horseback, sheep stillborn was
The idyll of three small children.
Me youngest and spoiled fierce,
Amy, middle and good and tough,
Cam, oldest and visionary, in charge of his two-sister tribe.
Explorers that particular day,
Daniel Boones every one of us
(a man we worshipped at 5, 6, 7,
plus Laura and Doug, 7 and 8).
We went across the west pasture,
All the way down the ravine
Where Doug and my brother, Cam, climbed to the top,
Swearing they could see the freeway. Or at least hear it.
We ate our snacks, planted the dead-stick stake,
And began the toil up the hill.
Little legs just past nap days.
The movie slow motion scene replays soundless.
Tired companions sprinting up the hill.
Cries unheard but written across my sister’s face.
Somehow the barbed wire fence
Was a finish line of sorts: demarcation for safety.
We flung ourselves through, a ripping then:
My favorite orange-plaid cowboy shirt.
Doug at the house already.
70s green Pinto station wagon. Mom, dirt spurts
Up the pasture grade,
Thrusting children on scalding avocado seats.
Seconds like hours allow for
Phone calls, shocking hose water.
Why? Why? Washing bees from hair and clothes
Summoning other parents.
Foreshadowing a tumultuous, future
Amy’s face ballooned, stingers,
Lost from yellow jackets who don’t lose them,
Pincushioned into her head.
The doctor, closed–
Sunday at least four decades ago.
The hospital where kind white coats
Blew up fingered glove-balloons for stung kids.
Six stings for me. Cam seemed like none.
Even after all these years “more than 70 stingers”
From. Her. Head.
And pink vomit after ice cream.
I don’t know if I’ve remembered right. But that’s my story.