Once tree lined,
until Dutch Elm Disease
took her toll. A quiet knoll
that came to life when the kids came out to play.
We'd play all day,
along this out of the way
thoroughfare, it was there that
we came to life; brothers, sisters and I.
A double lot
was our footprint, no postage stamp
of God's little acre; the Maker gave us
all that we could handle and all we wanted.
The generational home,
where we were born, where Mom was raised,
where my newly naturalized grandfather settled
to raise his growing brood. He also grew food
on the lot he purchased
along the rail lines. That was the place
that piqued my interest in trains. On time,
always to the schedule the iron rumbled.
Cousins always near,
the only fear we embraced,
came from the characters we devised.
The knights of Wood Place spent our nights
sleeping in the backyard,
roaming the 'hood after dark,
never in a malicious manner, more
of a watchful and protective way.
From the end
of our driveway to the second
telephone pole was our domain, street football
on a neatly painted asphalt gridiron; the envy
of the kids in the neighboring
streets. We were emulated; never duplicated,
celebrated for our camaraderie and brotherhood,
in our neighborhood on Wood Place.
Dad held fort
until the end and after we and our friends
had found our own stations; our own Wood Places.
I remember the faces in my dreams.
Now Wood Place is a memory.
You can't go back again. It isn't
the same; wasn't meant to be. It was
a starting point, that mint green castle. No hassle
came without backup.
I do not venture near there.
I wish for my memories to be unburdened
by the sadness of her rapid decline, a sign that
we left Wood Place
at the exact right time. In my heart and mind
I run the streets at night, kicking cans and keeping
my hiding spots secret. All in sanctuary, on Wood Place.