That picture of you in our 1953 Pontiac
parked outside the Chicago brownstones
It was after the cemetery
on Decoration Day
After Aunt Florene’s cigarettes
After Uncle Tony’s Stag beer
You in your ribbed t-shirt
flexing your muscles
sent outside by Mom’s scowl—
or maybe the heat—
where you listened to the 500
on the radio with the car doors open
Someone’s race car went over the back wall
You went over the fence
Mom swore you’d be back home by dark
Tony brought wine and Italian bread
from the basement refrigerator—
we called it Hunka-Bunka bread—
As you waltzed in and spun Mom
to “Fly Me to the Moon”
The moon itself leaning like Sinatra
at the end of a long, long alley
above all the red and the white and the blue
—Jeffrey Owen Pearson (Delaware County)
This poem first appeared in The Flying Island.
Jeffrey Owen Pearson has had poems appear in The Best of the Flying Island, So It Goes, Reckless Writing 2014 Anthology, Tipton Poetry Journal, Maize, and 2014 Writers Digest Poetry Awards. Pudding House Publications published his chapbook Hawaii Slides. A member of the Midwest Writers Workshop, he helps coordinate readings, workshops, and poems-while-you-wait events in and around Muncie.
Poetry Prompt: A Family Holiday
Recall a particular holiday from the past. How was the culture of the time period (and/or family culture) reflected in the way you celebrated this holiday? Before you write, make a list of favorite foods, decorations, songs, and activities. How was the setting important? Perhaps you will want to focus on one particular character. End your poem with a memorable image.
Indiana Humanities is celebrating National Poetry Month by sharing a poem and prompt every day in April. Indiana Poet Laureate Shari Wagner selected these poems and wrote the prompts.