Memorial Day

Memorial Day

I am exactly one on this day.
The world is blurry,
but coming into focus.
The steps must be relatively new

because the boards still have edges.
I’m toddling—note the fashionable shoes
and hood. My forehead is big enough
for a See Rock City Sign—

that’s how I know I’m a Smith.
The cat is nothing, just a cat.
The kitchen window is rotten beneath the sill.
Mold grows on the asbestos cement siding—

cheap, easy, and fire resistant for old houses
and ailing farmers. It’s exactly
May 30th, 1963. Memorial Day
when Memorial Day was celebrated

on Memorial Day, not this nearest Monday
convenience charade. My Dad—
the no-knack-for-it farmer turned
U.S. Letter Carrier—is off work.

He tells me the Post Office closes
for my birthday. Every year.
He tells me that. And to this day,
I carry that telling, sweet lie like a gift.


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