First Memory

First Memory

The picnic table. My sister’s
vaporous hair. Neighbors
in their unknown clothes.

I’m wild in blue shorts,
striped top. My mom’s
in my sister’s body.

The tenants of the lawn
rumble their tongues
like little engines and tickle

my untouched ankles.
I run the path of planets
around the wild grass

between the grass
between our houses. My
arms make airplanes.

My sister’s laughter
makes pennants of sound
that snap behind her run,

then rise into the wind
like little, reverse skydivers
returning to their airplanes.

I have been running
unknowing from that
forgettable, faraway

day every day since
and never escaping.
I hear the moving truck.

I smell the corn burned
on the cob. In the cold
night the cat climbed

into the car’s engine
block. My mom will
never be done with crying.

I know the day is falsely
made. I cannot conjure
back the past. Whatever

ghost I called I know I cradled
and raised today in a storm
of neurons and wishes, but

even memory is engendered
somehow. Even lightning
needs colliding ice.

Brian Lutz teaches at Delaware Valley University. In 2003 he was named Poetry Laurate of Bucks County, PA. His poetry has been published in numerous journals including Slate, Potomac Review, Louisville Review, Poetry East, Cider Press Review, Poet Lore, Apple Valley Review and Cimarron Review. Brian lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, two kids and three cats.  

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