I was four years old.

I wrote a sestina for my Contemporary Literature class a few weeks back; I thought I’d share.

I was four years old.

There we sat on the front stoop,
a wide-eyed four year old
and her father,
summer air thick, warm water
engulfing us, our words it swallowed.
Time stood still in Sycamore.

I grew up on Sycamore
Avenue. He and I frequented that stoop.
Many a beer and a mug of Kool-Aid swallowed
as we watched cars drive by, new and old,
determining who, why, what or
how they were cool – cool like my father.

Everything I knew to be cool I learned from my father.
He grew up, just like me, in Sycamore,
knew the lay of the land – creek filled with muddy water,
spent seasons with his siblings on their stoop.
I went back to it with him often, the green paint was cracking – old.
Both stoops, places summer air was swallowed.

I sat wiggling my little toes looking up as he swallowed
a swig of beer – Natty Light – my fathers
first choice. He taught me to be cheap, that the best things were old,
that the best towns weren’t towns but villages like Sycamore
where children didn’t have to fear sitting on their stoops
and fathers could drink beer that was water.

Out walked my mother, onto our porch, water-
ing can in hand. I watched the dirt as it swallowed
its drink, the liquid trickling from flowering pots onto our stoop.
She leaned down to kiss my father
and then me, on the forehead, in Sycamore
Ohio, and I remember thinking that this is where I’d grow old.

I looked at them; thinking then they were old.
I was small and unaware as to what or
how time did or was, but I knew Sycamore,
this safe and sacred place. I swallowed
my Kool-Aid, setting my mug on the stoop
as I gazed down the street, farther and farther.

And then my father pulled me out of my daydream, handing me a slice of water-
melon. I took it, cool nectar dripped down now sticky hands onto our stoop.
I swallowed seeds, looked up and proclaimed “Heaven on Earth; that’s Sycamore.”

I was four years old.

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