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By Steve McCord

The first lust to cast its spell on me
Was wanderlust.
Roaming the neighborhood on my Schwinn Stingray
With banana seat and the strangely in vogue sissy handle-bars.

This, before the defacing baseball cards by affixing them
To tire spokes with clothespins became financially imprudent.
I’d rat, tat, tat down the chipped cement sidewalk
Until the dreaded street lamps came on,
When my leash was yanked, and I’d dutifully skulk home
To where graduate degree coursework was underway
In the fine art of subtle family madness.

That is, until my survival instinct over-powered
The wheezing behemoth of family loyalty,
And mercifully, my roaming radius was expanded
By my newly purchased ’71 Chevy Nova.
In the mean time, escapes to the refuge of my nearby grandparents
Would have to do, until I could re-settle three-thousand miles away.

At age seven, (erratic vertical hold) and
The solace of soft serve Carvel ice cream with Gramps,
With chocolate sprinkles, to cover Mother’s
Unexplained disappearance for weeks at a time.

Age ten, leaving for church, as we get into the 63 Ford Falcon (or
was it the Buick station wagon that later was stolen?),
Fathers face turns beet red,
As mother discovers up a bracelet, (whose probable origin… loud static)
Would this be the final nail in their marital coffin?

Age twelve, the gut punch sudden death of Gramps (inconsolable late night test pattern),
And a few months later, my canine companion Heidi.
Age fourteen, father saying: no I could not live with him
For reasons I would better understand when I got older.

The color commentary of my childhood…
Such poor reception
No matter what I do
To the rabbit ears,
Or foot.

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