May, 1999

Matchsticks and cigarette stubs in black soil, doused and tramped
Where the corn is growing
Or will grow
The rain is cold
When we had Passover in March
This is where my uncles came out to smoke
I’m ten years old
In another ten years
The house will be gone
The land sold off
The ghost of my early archaeology
Long escaped
But then
I pick at one of the matchsticks
On my knees
Give it a sniff
Like a dog
No one’s watching
Still just the faintest sulfur
The corn is just thin and green and shivery
When it gets taller we’ll sprinkle red chili powder on it to keep the beetles off
And the rain is bitter, clear and brief
A blast of pure white
While we can
Later I will dream this cold as one of the last whole moments

But then
I’m still young enough to dance in it

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