ON CHILDHOOD

All the artifacts of my childhood
are stuck, velcroed to the earth
or ironed on like a patch to my memory.
They litter my skin in the form of scars and discolorations,
they are experiences remembered at inopportune times.

They sank to the bottom of the creek,
that wound around the secrets of my favorite trees
that drowned me into make-believe bliss,
that I remember every time I try to convince myself
not to have a destination.

They are hiding under colorful comforters
ready to remind me of the fort we made
that felt safe, like not even God could see us.
All your jokes were funnier there,
because I knew you weren’t about to give me an indian burn.

They are the times when I feel inadequate,
when I am brought back to certificates of participation;
backhanded compliments.
Awards for trying but not succeeding,
while you brought home trophies.

They sneak out of the box of raisins on my shelf
that smells just like the pantry of that old house.
Rosy-cheeked from coming in from the cold,
sitting by the fire and trying to decide whether that huge plant
was fake or just very healthy.

They are the times I’ve refused to believe in love lasting
because it would make me think of hiding
in sleepless panic, past our bedtimes
listening to them shoot like bullets on a battlefield
whisper-yelled words that we hadn’t learned yet.

The artifacts of my childhood
are the scars that remind me that I can be brave
and wreckless
like Eve wasn’t tricked into taking the apple,
she just liked to break the rules.
Old photographs and broken promises
and I’m not a child anymore.