Before you remarried.
Before he was Dad and just Archie.
When you were widowed.
I was six -- chicken legs
and summer barefoot -- watching
through the knotted fence.
The neighbor boys -- half naked
and burnt -- battled like sperm
for a spot in the pool.
Water sparked like a scalpel
and the splashing drowned out
AM pop pouring through the radio.
I didn't scream when the nail
pierced my foot. Not until I felt
the warm and saw the blood.
A candy ribbon of crimson
drip to a gush and
spread at my foot.
Cousin Cathy carried me home --
a limp Orphan Andy yelping for mother.
They took me to the hospital and waited.
You were at the races
winning laughs and kisses
from your future husband.
And waited because they couldn't find
you. Then patched me up with string
and strawberry ice cream.
The next day -- chicken legs
and summer bandage -- I watched
you from the porch.
A Jackie O in oversized
sunglasses scrubbing blood -- thick
as menstruation -- from the sidewalk.
A matron on hands and knees.
Sweat dribbling from your forehead.
When you were single again.
poem and photo copyright Robert P. Langdon