His American Flyer

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butterfly

My feet swept dirt
up and away in
the Alley –
making clouds of
dust.
My friends and I
kicked the can,
and boys sped by
showing off with
Mickey Mantle
spinning between the
frame of a new
American Flyer.

Mama dressed me
in fancy clothes,
frills and petticoats
red socks and patent
leather shoes, to scuff
about the Little League
field, to watch my brother
swing a bat.
It was a time when
stones were tossed
instead of kisses,
and names were carved
on garage doors. When
soiled clothes were hung
from yard to yard, and
running boards were
homemade rides.

A time when Mama
sat on our old red sofa
sewing dance costumes…
while I watched
my brother outside
riding around the
alley way on his
American Flyer.

He caught lightening
bugs – poured liquid
over butterflies, to kill them.
He fussed with Mama’s
tweezers as he spread
a butterflies wings to
be on display on white
cotton.

I wanted to fly
like the butterfly.
I wanted to speed
away on my brother’s
Red American Flyer.

I grew up in the
Alley with all
neighborhood boys –
I grew up watching
the Yankees being
torn apart by twisting
metal between spokes.

I watched as Mama
kept box scores
and the Yankees won
another world series…

It was Mama and I
sitting side by side on our
hand me down sofa, her
swigging her beer and
smoking the last cigarette.
Her, screaming
in front of our ten inch
television because one
of her favorites struck
out.

I guess Mama never had
an American Red Flyer,
and she never knew I
wanted to fly – like a
butterfly.

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