Serina and I found matches. . .



Misty Kiwak Jacobs

Serina and I found matches,
not hard in those days when everybody smoked,
and snuck outside

to the fort propped against the wooden fence,
inside a nest of dusty horse blankets,
and in the plaid and flannel crumple

we lit a fire to warm ourselves by,
we, 6 and 7 I’d say, and cold.
A neighbor saw the smoke,

ignited in you the stock dread that
lit all my childhood: soda bottles
conspiring to crack my teeth,

the anxious rituals of locked windows and fast shutters,
of shouting through the front door
to thwart the sinister intentions of kind people,

undercurrents in placid lakes intent on snaring
children as they leap from their fathers’ gleaming shoulders,
roil fishlike in silty water.

With a length rope you held me to the shore,
just short of their abandon.
Just short of beatitude.

3 thoughts on “Serina and I found matches. . .

  1. Aly

    I actually read your piece last night. But today- the way it is written in this re-blog: format change, etc, is so much better. It flows with much more resonance. I could register each sentence’s meaning and appreciate it even more. I love the description: “anxious rituals of locked windows and fast shutters,
    of shouting through the front door
    to thwart the sinister intentions of kind people”. This last sentence, I particulary love and relate to (imagining the many ways this translates into my own life, growing up. Feeling uncomfortable with the energy it put out to whatever the surroundings were, neighbors, etc.

    I could give my own example of something I did around the same age as you. The bottom line, and in reflection, for me (doing some child forbidden act on the small, suburban, street in front of our house), the behavior was attention-seeking. I went into the house and told my mother what I did (my instinct was ‘bad idea”, but couldn’t help it, I think I needed to know I was visible, of importance). I hoped for a fantasy reaction of caring attention. It didn’t turn out this way. My mother screamed at me (for the behavior; not registering or considering the obvious cry for attention), and punished me on the spot, sending me to my room. Of course, never to be discussed. Nothing ever was. Just another day in life to prepare for such a dynamic; I learned to normalize. Love your writing, as always. Inspires such introspection and insight. Xo! Aly


    1. Thanks, Aly. I was having trouble with the formatting yesterday, so reblogged today. Reactions to my mistakes were always horror, fear or anger. I worry I did this with my kids in their early years, because I honestly didn’t know it was natural to make mistakes. Still learning. ❤


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