Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Belonging

"Family Meeting," encaustic, 9" x 12"

HIDE-AND-SEEK

I stormed off with “You don’t even love me, do you!”
and hid in the garage crouched behind the lawnmower,
pressed against boxes of Christmas lights,

my bare feet flat against the cold concrete floor.
I sat so still I heard my parents searching for me—
the opening and closing of doors, the ruffling

of boxes in closets—like burglars searching
for hidden jewels. They looked under my bed,
in the storage closet under the stairs, in my tree house.

They called my name over and over as though
crying “Marco!” waiting for my “Polo!”
but by the time dusk arrived and the backyard

woods darkened, their voices felt more urgent.
They must really miss me, I thought. My father’s
tools cast frightening shadows—creatures

with many heads and sharp-tipped teeth. I closed
my eyes to make them disappear, then heard
my mother’s footsteps crunching on the gravel

driveway so close I trembled with excitement.
Pretending to cough, rattling the lawnmower,
I let her rescue me. “We really thought we lost you.

Don’t run away ever again,” she said, and then I saw
her wet face glistening in the moon’s light. Her tears
were proof of it: they truly wanted me. I comforted

my mother then, vowed I’d never really run away,
returned to them anew, knowing I belonged.

(June 2003, Final Manuscript for MFA in Creative Writing)


1 comment:

  1. What a well told memory...
    Your image captures two favorites of mine. Growing up, I always got artichokes for my birthday dinner, and I thrill each time a goldfinch dances and darts into my garden - this is a family meeting I'd love to be part of!

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