cassette tapes

I recorded my childhood homes on cassette tapes
but now they bunch together, magnet-distorted.
red and blue and brick and green shutters
pets, years, cities–ten, four-three-ten, three.

my hometown’s diversity drifts in and out
as my awareness of it waxes and wanes.
braids & gunshots & illumined Starbucks
joined like warring siblings, juxtaposed.

childhood friends abandoned like bottled dust,
a holy land, names forgotten, now a necklace.
the battles in our backyard now turned
on my head. I stay there, never played.

encamped in my bed, the block homes
mutter to me; I record them on the tapes,
their stories, but on future listens, I twitch.
out my window rest rollercoasters, untouched.

fallen buckeyes drift onto mom’s sweatshirt,
her face a blur to my eyes. used to be so tall.
dad, still a tower. brothers always brothers.
the biker forever rides the telephone poles.

I close the memory book. pull out the cassette.
flip it over, blow in the recorder, layman’s clean.
pull out the magnets and erase. time to try again.
maybe on this side the dog shit won’t be so potent.

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