Money jingles in your pocket.
I grasp mine, fist tight,
short legs pumping to match your stride.
We walk past manicured lawns,
sweet scent of summer flowers,
porch swings empty in the afternoon heat.
You reach for my hand at the corner.
We cross the street and turn.
The house disappears.
For the first time, I am let loose in the world.
The screen door slams behind us.
Fans whirr and cool our sweaty faces.
You head straight to the cooler, its motor droning,
pull out two Nehi’s, orange for you, grape for me.
You slap two nickels on the counter.
I pry open my numb fingers and do the same.
Studying your pensive face as you choose your penny candy,
I wonder why candy picking demands such care.
I quickly pick three licorice whips, waxed lips, and a Mary Jane.
Leaving the store, I hear money jingle in your pocket again.
I have nothing to clutch but my bag of candy and my grape Nehi.
When we reach the corner, you grab my paper sack
holding my hand as we cross the street.
We walk back leisurely to the house where our family waits,
Mama and Papa, our baby sister,
back to our grandparents, whose house it is.
It has been more than fifty years
since our last summer vacation to that Ohio neighborhood.
Couldn’t find it again, even if I tried.
Rosie’s is surely gone, as is Rosie,
if she ever existed.
No one who waited for us that day
is still waiting. All gone now,
even our baby sister.
But I return there time after time in my mind,
remember how I felt that day with you, dear brother,
the world opening up in a new way,
the adventure around the corner.
I wonder how many adventures
we still have left to share.
One thing I know: When we turn the corner,
we will hold each other’s hand,
walking to Rosie’s all the way.
This is a poem I wrote for my brother. It is such a lovely summer day today, and it made me think of those magic days I got to walk to the store with my brother. Thought I’d share.