A Borrowed Childhood Memory, Hammonton, 1974


for my mother

Maple leaves plastered to the rain gutter grates. Your father’s mower revved and buzzed for a moment as he caught another frog gone unnoticed in the yellow-spotted front yard where garbage pails sat for too long. Chalk on the sidewalk. Worn Chucks hung from phone pole wires and tree limbs. You and the others hopped on banana bikes to outrun mutts let loose by the crazy “Purple Lady” on the corner. The solstice is only, actually, a fleeting moment— Sun’s highest point in the sky, longest day of the year. And, no longer the hunted, but the hunter—you glowed. The blinking bulbs of fireflies plucked, the iridescent paste slathered, nubs worn like jewels. Nights only got longer. This last time you shared the cosmic.

MARK JAY BREWIN, JR, won the 2012 Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize of the University of Utah Press for his first book manuscript, Scrap Iron. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in Southern Poetry Review, New Madrid, The Hollins Critic, Copper Nickel, Southern Humanities Review, Poet Lore, North American Review, The Greensboro Review, and Prairie Schooner. He is a graduate of the MFA program of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.