We Were Five Kids

We Were Five Kids

We Were Five Kids

By Joshua Lewin

this poem is composed of lines, rearranged, from Gabrielle Hamilton's memoir, "Blood, Bones and Butter," for Courtney, Jim, Rebeca, and Katey. 

we were five kids
Hissing all night
over an open fire
In an otherwise pitch-black meadow

hanging upside down
in mud suits
a pack--like wild dogs
tongues flopping out the sides

everyone is still, pretty much, 
intact and wholesome
the rest of life will resume

the rest of us saw
not a regular yard
a wild castle
ruins of a nineteenth-century silk mill

here…see the lightning
wander around my own mind
my drifty imagination
ike a rowdy sheepdog twice my own weight

blood dripped down into the coals
hypnotic and rhythmic
Hiss

etched into our brains
clung to it for thirty years
mopped slowly, gently, thoughtfully
crushed rosemary and garlic, and big chunks of lemons

fresh peas in a bushel basket
sweet, starchy…in their own canoe
hoisted off the pit onto the shoulders of men
their song filled business

we sat up in our sleeping bags, reeking of smoke
politely kissed the older guests
wondering how late we would stay up
watching the scenery go up or come down
like grave markers
our mother was French
ruled the house
so slowly and patiently
ballet dancer friends with
long necks and erect posture
a photograph from a magazine
an oily wooden spoon
plywood-on-sawhorse tables
articulate the “s”
all that yet troubles us

glowing greenish discs
arcing through the jet black night
psychotropic reason
artful, freakish, habit

childish to admit to loving your siblings
dodging the oncoming headlights
back and forth between two states
the greatest show on earth
HIss. Hiss. Hiss.