Above the streetlight-dappled lawn,
I sat on a wall with my little boy hands
Pressed down on cool coarse brick.
Beside me, my uncle, broad-shouldered
And confident in his corduroy FFA jacket,
Struck blue tip kitchen matches,
Launching them like missiles.
Tasting leaves and darkness and sulfur,
I heard the click and sputter of flame,
Watched the blaze twist and tumble through space,
Then sizzle on wet grass.
Watchful and amazed,
Eager for the spark and flame.
My Uncle Lindsay passed away this week, but I wrote this poem about ten years ago, reflecting on one of my earliest memories back when he was still in high school or maybe just a bit older. He wasn’t a big reader of poetry, but he liked this one. It was published in a small lit magazine few people read, so I thought I’d share it here to honor his memory.