I buried you on a bright red tricycle
with a bell on the handlebars while
the swing set continued to rust
and the dog, twitching in his dreams,
sat near the door ready to chase you
across a field that no longer existed.
I cried you a hundred million tears,
the same number of laughs you made
when we sat on the deck to see who
could make the silliest faces underneath
a full moon which knew long before we
did who the ultimate winner would be.
I clawed at you with my bare hands
trying to get past the thick sod
and place you on my chest to rest
against my heart that keeps on beating
like some crazy drummer frenzied
by music that only he can hear.
I lost your face one day so I rushed
home in a panic and pushed your
picture against me hoping it would
melt in my memory and stave off
such shame that I could ever forget
again what once whispered serenity.
# # #
Jimmy Pappas served during the Vietnam War as an English language instructor training South Vietnamese soldiers. Jimmy received his BA in English at Bridgewater State University and an MA in English literature from Rivier University. He is a retired teacher whose poems have been published in many journals, including Yellowchair Review, Rattle, Shot Glass Journal, Boston Literary Magazine, and War, Literature and the Arts. He is a member of the Executive Board of the Poetry Society of NH. He was one of ten finalists in the 2017 Rattle Poetry Contest.
Photo: Rodolfo Mari