Rethinking childhood he recalls a gruff
Kind male teacher in shop class
Instructing the boys how to make,
Basically on one’s own,
Simple book-ends which would be shellacked.

Tools whose names he no longer remembers
Had gouged his monogram into two squares
Which when glued and nailed together, right-angled,
Felt-bottomed and dried, he took home
To marshal his favorite books.


Now comes an image unthought-of since childhood:
Something similar to sandpaper, from which his sister and he
Cut stars and a moon for daddy and mommy to stick to the ceiling.
There, after goodnights were said and overhead lights flicked off
Constellations started to glow. They slowly brightened.

He gives his long-dead parents credit now. Though the family
Was close to poor (his were the only mother and father he knew
Who did not own a car) one Christmas he and his sister
Came hand-in-hand into the living room and discovered
Propped against a wall two bicycles – yes, bicycles!