Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2018  Vol. 17 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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First Loss

Only six,
what did I really know
about you?

Saws had taken fingertips.
That I knew
when you took my hand
to guide me across
the country store parking lot
to get a cold glass-bottled Brownie.

Stories came later,
not all angelic,
you and Dad’s Christmas Eve hike
to get a jar of moonshine
and, almost back home,
the jar dropped and shattered.
The long walk back
to get another.

In the hall
outside my room,
Mom asked what I wanted to do.
I chose school
instead of the funeral.
The bus brought me home as usual.
The old car ghosted the driveway;
Grandma couldn’t drive.
The rocking chair you made me
swayed through Saturday morning cartoons.

Sometimes I smell your cigarettes
and hear the pack crackle its cellophane.
Sometimes I hear you laugh
and start back for another jar.  

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