Pumpkin Center today. In the 70s, it belonged to my grandparents.
Some of my earliest memories take place here.
and it shakes with big truck traffic -
Peterbilts and Kenworths growling,
Macks grabbing gravel on the hill.
The diesel drenched air shimmers,
and the tires on the rigs in the parking lot
are high as my head and fat with heat.
They black the back of my shirt
if I lean against them.
Inside, there is man talk,
the whir of the coolers,
the crackle of the CB radio.
I have a book of dogs
from the American Kennel Club with all the breeds,
and I see at least a dozen that I want.
I list them neatly on a yellow legal pad.
When I get bored with dogs, I sit on Papa's lap;
he lets me run the register if it's not busy.
At the back of the store is an Employee's Only door.
My cousins and I run in and out, banging the door
until Grannie yells at us all
to go outside and play, for God's sake.
We climb the fence and run the winding path
through the cow pasture to the caved in cellar.
It's a dark, open mouth in the wildflowers
with treasure on the tongue of the stairs.
I find an arrowhead and an old, blue, glass bottle.
When I look through the bottle, it colors the world.
For Real Toads