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,

I waited,

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.


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