A deep memory from childhood. Who doesn’t know that?


Remembered In a Smell

He remembers
Remembers roller-skates that clamped on,
the key turned so tight, shoe-toes curled
Flying down cement sidewalks, wings spread,
skinned knees and elbows, breathless
On fire with being seven years old

Remembers the smell of summer-hot tar,
pressing in pennies with fingers,
fascinated at this early form of publishing
Fireflies chased before the Silent Spring,
caught in eager hands,
stuffed in Mason jars
Magic in glass, spilled out
and made free before bed

Remembers his first leather jacket,
pleaded for
Expensive
His family wasn’t poor,
but these were war-years,
saving bacon fat, tin cans,
rationing and Victory Gardens
The jacket he pulled off and left,
its very first day
Nine bucks, and seventy years later,
he still remembers

Remembers flags hung in neighbors windows
by gold cord
A blue star for each son at war
and some had several
Lost or missing,
the blue stars turned to gold
These windows passed quietly,
whispered and cried over
with nine year old tears,
while playing at war
and watching neighbor’s parents,
quickly grown old

Seventy years later, a crew patches streets,
half a world away, the sudden smell of hot tar
and memories flood back
of skinned knees, pressed fingers and fireflies,
slammed screen-doors, stars turned blue to gold
Nine dollar jackets
and neighbors’ sons lost
The breaking wave of a lifetime,
remembered in a smell

Poetry Collection: Corner of My Mind
This poem is included in
Jim Freeman’s
poetry collection

CORNER OF MY MIND
available here in print
or as an e-Book
in your favorite formats.