WHEN I WAS HELD
Lakeside Apartments was four square Lego forts
With lawns in the middle, a neighborhood.
Next door stood an old house, wood nailed
Over windows, and a broken sign: The Brotherhood -
Word I heard at church once, with mention of angels.
Hoods and angels tangled the way I pulled down
Hangers for my coats that wouldn’t come apart.
Neighborhood brotherhood angels
Helped worms back to grass after rain,
Guarded my rusting trusty tricycle,
Listened to my spiderweb songs.
Fourth of July the grass grew tall, and the happy dandelions.
Cigarette butts were fairy wands; candy wrappers, parachutes.
Someone lit a Whistling Pete that shrieked like a police siren.
My Daddy’s name was Pete. The thing he’d done was to die.
A neighbor without a hood hammered a pink pinwheel to a tree.
Matches hissed. A flower burst. Floomp: petals blazed
Hot and red. I ran out of names for things.
Mother’s pale, nervous arms lashed tight around me.
Your turn. Sometime between fireworks, write your first memory of the holiday.