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Poem: Hiding Places 

There was one in the house on Post Street in the closet

under the stairs. I hovelled out a cave behind the winter coats

and boxes and listened to Cousin Brucie on ABC

by the light of a candle I smuggled in from the kitchen.

I read comics when I had them.

My father got a notion to put a mural on the parlor wall

and drew a couple of trees and some deer.

Dickie hid behind the banister and shot them

with his BB gun, ducking and rolling on the floor.

He missed a lot.

The hedge along Post Street was way over my head,

and on the far end I could climb in and play shadow games

with the branches. I became other bushes. Once, when I was a hedge,

somebody passing by said oh, look at that, a hedge cocoon

butterfly is emerging.

A good place to hide in the summer was the rendezvous

on the ridge behind Elm Street. Sometimes I just went

for the columbine, but I didn't like to be alone there.

When I went back last year it was like I had lost my youth.

The rendezvous was gone.

The mulberry in the field below the hill behind the house

made a tent with a dirt floor where we could play cards.

We hid butts in holes we dug in the floor. I kept mine

in a Kent pack because it had the microlite filter.

Ronnie had the best card tricks.

You could spear fine, long butts on Partition when the trucks

came off the bridge and the drivers threw them out the windows

when they shifted into third on the long pull up the hill.

In the spring I floated styrofoam boats down the gutter when it rained.

Once I hid a haiku on the little green sail.

When we played tag with Mandy the day he ran

under the wheels of the tractor-trailer and got killed

I ran home and told Mom. She went over and tried to help.

That evening we gathered at the parlor stove and prayed.

I hid inside the mica's red glow.

  • A poem by Vernon Benjamin.


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