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Saturday, October 19, 2013
for my brother Todd on his birthday
The missionary neighbors who lived upstairs rolled us around the yard in their shipping barrel.
Our vagabond days*
for my brother on his birthday
We'd hide in those years, Todd and me, inside the best places
in the parsonage —sneaking up from our first floor, certain
mother or others didn't know. While she vacuumed, we tip-toed
up the back stairs of the mud room peering for Lady Chatterly**
the African Parrot chattering Bible verses to her missionary family
whose teenaged son shot BB pellets into our father's tomato garden.
We lived as sheltered vagabonds then, roaming the church halls
in shared clothes from the missionary barrel, slipping through the cribs hung
on nursery walls, the wooden bars for a make believe zoo. The church bell at
noon announced our father's lunch at the formica table in our little kitchen.
Later, in the low glow of a Mickey Mouse night light, our day tucked
in with bed time prayers. I prayed with Daddy for Jesus to come
into my heart -- and yours. When you decided to postpone your salvation
I chattered night-light altar calls from my bed to yours. Only half mindful
of your wellness, electric whispers in the passion of my conversion, more due
to the fact that you were my first -- and best -- friend.
*adapted structure from a poem by
**where my memory fails, I make up a few details