Eggshell white paint cracks,
As years materialize on a wooden doorway.
Jennifer – age five, Jennifer – age nine,
Inked product of little learning hands.
Roundness, sharpness, spacing, size,
Rhythm of lines on childhood’s ruler.
Chewed fingernails prove bad habits
As tips inspect evidence of growth.
Arms stretch towards tally marks inching out of reach,
Delicate feet tap dance on linoleum tiles.
A bear hug is requested in the next room,
And she climbs her Papa’s worn throne.
Two kisses, left and right, the ritual goes,
Building anticipation to the cub’s finale growl.
Then, an embrace of pride, wrapped
In the warm aroma of morning’s cigar.
On Curlew Street, dust rests on windowsills,
A green-shuttered sanctuary remains.
Memory visits to escape the violent
Crossfire of calendars and clocks.