Poem: Fireflies

Remembering my Calvin-andHobbes seven year-old life and the smells that today can transport me instantly back.


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 pennies and 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 the first leather jacket, pleaded for
His family wasn’t poor, but these were war years,
saving bacon fat, tin cans, rationing and Victory Gardens
The jacket pulled off and left, its very first day
Nine bucks, and fifty 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
Windows passed quietly, whispered and cried over
with nine year-old tears, while playing at war
and watching neighbor’s parents, quickly grown old

Fifty years later, a crew patching streets
half a world away, the smell of hot tar and memories,
skinned knees, pressed fingers and fireflies,
slammed screen doors, stars turned blue to gold
nine dollar jackets and sons of neighbors lost
The breaking wave of a lifetime, remembered in a smell
Poetry Collection: The Smell of Tweed and Tobacco
This poem is included in
Jim Freeman's
poetry collection


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