A Borrowed Childhood Memory, Hammonton, 1974

by Mark Jay Brewin, Jr.

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 is a graduate of the MFA program at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Cortland Review, North American Review, Prairie Schoonerand elsewhere. His first collection, Scrap Iron, won the 2012 Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry at the University of Utah Press. He has been awarded the 2010 Yellowwood Prize from the Yalobusha Review, the 2015 Sweet Corn Prize from Flyway: Journal of Environment & Writing, as well as been nominated for several Pushcart Prizes. He is currently a Contributing Editor to the poetry journal Cave Wall. For more of his work, please visit his website: http://MarkJayBrewinJr.com.