It was a campaign like no other,
it was a campaign like all others,
to win the marvel of my grandmother,
during an easy, sultry summer.
My mother stood, watching this five year old
run down the limestone-paved Ash Street
into his Nonny’s arms in front of her ranch-style house.
We walked past the red barrel of loamy black peat
and the curly haired dog, Tara, into the kitchen for lunch.
What I wanted when I requested my usual,
a peanut butter and yellow mustard sandwich,
I never got, though the sandwich was handed to me
with every courtesy. I gobbled it up
with any and all contrived gusto I could manage,
scrutinizing my grandmother’s every gesture.
I washed it down with white vinegar, my pretend liquor.
All you have to do is try my sandwich.
All that summer, I ran through the state forest
with the wandering pack of tan, stray boys,
barefoot, in cutoff jeans, until one day they disappeared
and it struck me that we never had names.
Later, I stood in the yard with Billy
and shot a tropical-hued banana spider,
the size of a hand, on a web the size of a man,
in its thorax, which exploded in a goo that left me satisfied.
I guess we all eventually archive our prose to the cloud,
our A Tale of Two Cities reboot, telling ourselves,
if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, the overpowering
recruitment brand of the Marine Corps.