I needed coffee. I got in the car,
drove a block to the drive-thru.
In the window a young woman
with a sweatshirt from my hometown.
Springville comes into view –
sandlot baseball in the afternoon.
Her name was Alex, her father Ken
was my age so I must have known him.
The first and last names rang a bell.
He’d lived one block north of me.
Although I didn’t know him well
we both went to Lincoln Elementary.
Those were the days of Eisenhower,
the Russian threat and Elvis Presley.
We’d ride our bikes hour after hour.
Our best friends were cats and dogs.
We’d kick balls in the street and play Monopoly
with no idea how big the world was.
How long ago and how far away
there was no future, just day by day
repetition of the simplest lessons.
God is good and speaks in riddles.
Do not challenge and do not stray.
Humility will win all battles.
I grew up there at least a little
then I left for California.
Ken stayed there his whole life
met his wife and raised his family
while I went off to Chicago and Cairo
to study languages and history –
to fail, succeed and follow chaos.
Since uncounted and open time
for as long as we crawled out of slime
men have come from little boys
getting larger and carrying on
what they learned from Dad and Mom
traveling the world or staying at home
becoming one of the future ancestors.
One man two men heads in blazes
every hometown is full of possible
friends, strangers, nightmares and memories.
I have my life and he has his
daughter serving me my red-eye.
We are all local and in a daze turning
phrases back, forth, and otherwise.