What I Loved
As a child, I often visited my grandmother and cousins
in West Oak Lane, straight lines of dark brick rowhomes,
old trees, so wide you couldn’t get your arms around them.
In summer, people sat out on the stoop and watched
neighbors in their somber suits and hats parade
to service in the tiny synagogue where my uncle
served as sexton. In the back of each house, there was
an open space, a paradise of gardens, some gated.
I loved the ones with a reflecting ball, precisely
in the center, mirroring the bees and sulfur yellow
butterflies. I thought I saw some other country
there, one that I’d explore on some dull day
when my cousins were busy with their chores
or their piano lessons, and I was left to roller
skate for hours on the cracked concrete behind
their house. I didn’t like the other decorations—
plastic flamingos or painted plaster gnomes,
objects with no mystery about them, far preferred
to peer between the iron filagree or wooden slats,
pretending that I stood on soft green grass
instead of forever banished, on the other side.
Robbi Nester is the author of four books of poetry and editor of three anthologies. She is a retired college educator and elected member of the Academy of American Poets. Her website is at http://www.RobbiNester.net