Front yards lacked sidewalks and curbs,
backyards flowed together with no boundary
marks but stripes in grass from lawnmowers dads rode,
and looming shrubs to hide under
and sycamore and black walnut
shedding their furry or smelly fruits
so we all ran everywhere except
Miss Howe’s, her Dalmatian
Pepper chained to the garage.
Breakfast was orange juice we squeezed
half-thawed and glistening from cardboard tubes
(add three of water, stir with the longest spoon)
and cereal poured from boxes with toys inside
and once a Jackson Five record right on
the box, we cut out the disk with them
smiling in candy-bright jumpsuits,
played high-voiced songs on the turntable
pulled from its shadowed cabinet,
the smell of Sugar Smacks mixed in.
Margaret Young’s poetry collections are Willow From the Willow (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2002) and Almond Town (Bright Hill Press, 2011), plus a chapbook Blight Summer just out from Finishing Line Press. She is translating the work of Sergio Inestrosa (Mexico) and Débora Benacot (Argentina). Young is on the faculty of the Global Center for Advanced Studies and Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts.