In some of our travels this summer, we went past a town where my husband lived for a year as a child. We got off the highway and drove through the town until he located the house, which apparently had changed little in the nearly forty years since he lived there. We drove by his school, which is now an apartment complex for senior citizens. We went by his uncle's house, where, on the day when his little brother was born, my husband was passed through the window because in all the confusion, nobody had the key. My husband (or rather, the small boy who became my husband many years later) unlocked the door and let everyone in, and saved the Thanksgiving turkey.
Such memories! And all of this made me think of the following Gregory Djanikian poem, "Going Back." (I love Djanikian's work and have posted a couple of his poems before here
by Gregory Djanikian
We have been cruising, half a block
at a time, my wife, my two children,
all morning, and I have been pointing out
unhurriedly and with some feeling
places of consequence, sacred places,
backyards, lush fields, garages, alleyways.
“There,” I say, “by this big cottonwood,
That’s where I dropped the fly ball, 1959.”
“And in 1961,” I say, “at this very corner,
Barry Sapolsky tripped me up with his gym bag.”
My son has fallen asleep, my daughter
has been nodding “yes” indiscriminately
for the last half hour, and my wife
has the frozen, wide-eyed look of the undead.
“Maybe lunch,” I say, though I’m making now
my fourth approach to Curtin Jr. High School,
yellow-bricked, large-windowed, gothic,
where Frank Marone preyed on our terror once
and Janice Lehman walked in beauty.
“Salute, everyone,” I say, “salute,”
bringing my hand up to my brow as we pass
the gilded entrance, “This is where things
of importance happened,” and I am pulling out
from under the car seat a photo album
of old school pictures, “Page 8,” I say,
“Fred Decker, John Carlson by the bike rack,
Mr. Burkett … ,” and driving on, following
the invisible map before my eyes.
Now we are drifting toward my boyhood house
and I am showing my wife trellised porches,
bike routes, more than she’d care to see;
“Why this longing?” she says, “What about now,
the kids, our lives together, lunch, me?” Here's the whole thing.And here's today's Poetry Friday roundup.