I used to long for rain: blue skies
in childhood arraigned me like a
disapproving judge: they sentenced me
to obligations I could not fulfill.
Invariably, they made me ill.
Suburbia's idea of play was onerous:
the promised feast of Little League and
summer days pursuing, hitting, catching,
throwing (mostly missing, dropping) balls
provoked excruciating silent screams in me.
These ploys to make me bond with other boys
stoked terror: meant to help me mesh
into the world, they were instead what
Dr Johnson called a "scheme of merriment."
The trembling kid I was at bat
knew there was nothing deadlier than that.
Whatever seed wants burgeoning.
whatever bud craves blooming,
whatever garden wants to burst,
it has its own peculiar hunger, thirst
for rare specific nourishment and care.
The child in whom they breed must dare
to find and ferret out himself, to fertilize
the gradual opening of his eyes.
My food was crayons, paper, drawing
naked bodies, musing I was Disney's
"Sleeping Beauty", burying my mother's
jewelry in the farthest reaches of the yard,
and sometimes stealing candy from the Five
& Ten. Misbehaving on the sly was somehow
how I managed to survive: it made me think
the world was one big secret prize.
This I surmise that somehow, over time,
I found my own attachments to the sun.
How strange today—so easily!—to say
that I no longer dread a cloudless day.