If I could see the Red Maple again near that street, I do not know what I would do.
We are fathers and mothers forever leaving the children of our memories.
I made full meals there.
I slept in the warm water of the tub as if it were an orange colored womb.
What I am missing is some part of me that expressed itself, in that
turning street, with its trees tall enough to block out the sun.
I rested there.
I received phone calls from lovers there which came through my
soul as poems.
The new keys don’t work like the old keys did there.
I used to rush down the street smiling to have silence.
I waited each year for the lilac bush thirty feet from my doorway to bloom.
Once, I begged a neighbor not to cut back his rose bushes while the roses
were in bloom because some part of me kept dying when I saw them laying
on the side walk that way.
The anguish too extreme in me for me to ignore.
He was an angrier man but his face went kind and he promised a promise he kept
and gave me roses from the ground.
They lived in my green vase for over three weeks.
I haven’t seen a rose that mattered a damn since then except when I go
back to that street and see those roses.
Damn those roses for making me live them so.
I go back but am an orphan to it. Sometimes, change basterdizes you.
I was simply human there. Now, here I am race and innuendo.
I closed my eyes there. Everything so amazingly golden.
Romella D. Kitchens is an Autumn House Poet whose poems have been published in three Autumn House publications: Joyful Noise: An Anthology Of American Spiritual Poetry, The Working Poet: 75 Exercises And A Poetry Anthology, The Autumn House Anthology Of Contemporary American Poetry, and she has presented poetry for various Autumn House events. Ms. Kitchens is honored by her association with Autumn House due to its active involvement in the culture and collective of Contemporary American Poetry.