I remember when I was young
Not really, most of those memories are gone

but I have seen pictures
family pictures of my smiling sisters, and my older brother
all probably taken from my mother
although I remember my dad, he must have held the camera too.

I remember and it hurts to make my brain turn
happy moments, with Nick Athanas
in Grafton backyards, where I would run down the field
to Westborough Street.

Early in the morning
to wake up Rob and Nick,
walking through paths,
we didn’t realize fear yet

revisited, those paths maybe ten fifteen years ago
they scared the shit out of me then
behind my sisters apartment where that girl went missing.

Where the train tracks took us to Worcester
and in summertime we would walk to Silver Lake
Lake Ripple being too polluted to swim
but always beautiful.

We would get ice cream at the same spot,
A main stop next to the donut shops
my ma, she worked at the Grafton Inn
and I would fall asleep on her bedroom floor
waiting for her to get home
Back then when I could control my dreams.

My mother would be home when I got home from school
And she would make chicken soup and feed me fluff and jelly
Cut each sandwich into triangles.

That was the only geometry that mattered,
the 360 degrees of love that my mother gave to me
my mother was my den leader,
with this kid Kyle or Keith, and his mother,

I remember her name it was Una
but I can’t remember him
I guess we weren’t friends
but then I was just a kid.

There was this one time; I twisted a girl’s ankle
saying here comes Halley’s Comet
my first crush,
I didn’t realize her pain when she limped away
there was the other time,
when I broke a girls china doll,
not totally on purpose
but I liked her too.

I guess I have always broken things.

Then there was the time
I broke my head open
cracked open like an egg

my blood spilling all over the sidewalk,
walking away from a broken bicycle
the one day that I decided I wasn’t going to wear my helmet

but still when I woke up, my mom was there,
after staring at a blue sheet, the doctor telling me to count backwards
from 60 while he plunged a needle and thread into my exposed skull.

But as I said, my mother was there to kiss my forehead,
and was there when stitches came in, and when the stitches fell out
my mother was there more then my dad back then
but my dad worked hard,
I respect him for that

They live in separate houses since I was fifteen
that’s when you realize your parents are just people
two people who fell in and out of love,
and raised you the best they could.

I don’t fault my mother for her faults
I don’t fault my father for his

because they kept me fed,
they kept me clean, they loved me

they were my king and queen

they protected me
they loved me
the only reason they left
they were human, flawed, and not perfect
and I am the same
human, flawed, and not perfect.


Illustration © James Conant

Illustration © James Conant


Jason Wright is the founder and Editor of Oddball Magazine. His “Jagged Thoughts” column appears weekly.

James Conant is a Cambridge artist who has recently added photography to his skills, which include clay sculpture, pen and ink, montages, and pencil art. He is always available for work and collaboration.