Willoughby, Ohio

I thought I saw Alana, and the Moon boys, too –
sun burnt toddlers with flowers in their hair.
They bent down to put wooly bears in
their palms, telling each other that
brown spot has more stories in them
than a television ever will.

A block away, I watched the peach cart
man rest his eyes beneath the willow
tree near the hydrant. I watched another
man who may have been naked walk to his
mailbox, an expression on his face that
I know I have a better life a-coming.

Luther the dog ran out of Mr. Ingle’s
house each time the Ingle boys opened
the back door. The Ingle boys whistled
and Luther whimpered. The Ingle boys
held out their hands and Luther didn’t
know which to choose so he ran in circles.

My home was the one with the yellow gate
and the garden that was more brown than
green. Mostly it fed the rabbits, and held the rain.
And the squirrels shifted the dirt where once
fell my mother’s wedding ring in the summer
of ’93, which to this day remains lost to me.

In my little town, where the highway is named
for a boy I went to school with, a boy who had
surrendered himself to the second desert war,
where Jacob’s father died in the bathtub because
his heart was too large, where Timothy and Amber
fell in love and moved away from together, where

I climbed the fencepost to retrieve the wind-tattered
remains of a kite we made out of a brown paper bag,
where I had fallen, breaking both arms and a wrist
and a girl with dark brown hair that she adamantly
called black, a girl that rents the apartment above
the Lucky Seven, working three shifts a week

at Anne’s Bistro, three shifts a week at Kroeger’s
Grocer, and another three shifts a week at the library
filing away books and magazines in the Travel and
Exploration section in the back. She told me once,
before I left
Baby, I’m afraid to leave. What
happens if I never want to come back?

About the Author: Michael Credico is a writer who lives in Cleveland.