Monday, September 21, 2009

First Best Friend

for Carl Anderson (1946-2009)

On the flat grass patio above the creek
we posed once for a parent’s camera
Indian-style, on either side of a pup tent’s
bowed center pole: legs angled over bare feet,
camp tools in mirroring hands, right-over-left --
I held the hatchet, slippery with 3-in-1 oil,
he, a rough-hewn pine tent stake.
Before us, our knives thunked upright,
kerosene lanterns, wicks lit against dusk.
Androgynous pioneers –
wiry girl, too thin and long
for T-shirt and dungarees;
plump boy, a loose lump of flesh poured
into faded shirt and triple-rolled jeans.
After beanie-weanies scooped from tin plates,
after pines swallowed fireflies and moon,
after midnight snuffed thick air,
we sneaked inside the house,
its blue carpet safe for sleeping like spoons.

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