When I was a Boy

… we’d go tramping off the back road

through salal and ferns and huckleberries

and hike the dry logged-off ridges

crisscrossed with wild strawberries

tiny and tasty and gritty with sand

We’d stomp down tough blackberry vines

raveling over the slash of old bones

piles of branches the loggers left

We’d reach past bramble thorns for berries

still too hard and reddish

that made us all the more thirsty

We’d traipse along the edge of a swamp

full of fat frogs and big snakes

the dull mud beyond the lily pads

cracking under the weight of the sun

…before we’d break through to the beach highway

running broad and swift above the sea

Nowadays those old sandy ridges

hold a fragile growth of spruce and fir

and where we used to tramp

there’s an asphalt road going through

I can park at the store

but it no longer stocks those bottles

of soda that tasted

like a million sweet stars going down

                                    —Eugene Marckx, 24 July 2014


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