Thanksgiving Memories of Martins Ferry

So much, maybe everything, is lost in translation–
those tiny steps we take between heartbeats
Like the steps I’ve taken backward and forward on holidays
in those worn out shoes I wear on special occasions only–
trying to remember myself, and Martins Ferry–
that place this life remembers as its beginning, and
that place I loath and love like some hopelessly confused clown
dancing in the headlights of strangers’ cars–
cars running over my dreams
which know no way to die on their own

We forget it’s all an illusion–
every last blink of experience
flowing into and out of us
like some forgotten river–
maybe the Ohio, and
then again maybe not

Martins Ferry clings to me–
some terribly worn, out of style suit of clothes–
in synch with my special shoes, but painfully dull and empty
like the now abandoned house on Indiana Street
where my winter dreams began in the warm family room
where a short-needled Christmas tree stood every year–
the same corner where I cried in quiet desperation
hoping a dream would some day carry me far away

Now I want to go back–
this time by choice to wear those shoes and that suit
Something tugs at my heart on Thanksgiving and Christmas
Making even the sadness and loneliness look good
Just one more time to sit on the family room floor
and play with my toys
while Mom and Dad argue in the kitchen about money, relatives
and so many other empty things filling life–
things that are also part of love

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