They tell me I was young once

They tell me I was young once and with a broad grin
Walked sun-soaked sidewalks and honeysuckle paths
Train-flattened pennies on warm summer days
Schoolyard baseball and a circle full of marbles

But memories of youth have long since died
Born a man to stranger’s gazes and idle chatter
In a world where time gains weight
And crushes weakened arms that hold it

They tell me I awaited buses on dew-drenched grassy corners
Alphabet soup on Big Chief tablets
Soda-caked bee stings and puke-soaked sands
Swept into leaden pails by bent-backed octogenarians

Memories sowed in the laps of mothers and nurtured through the years
At Christmas dinners and family socials
Each seed carefully re-sown
And harvested with the passing of time

I search for a child lost in time shelved in dusty attic boxes
Inquisitive eyes smile back at a vacant gaze
As likened to the boy as to the glossy print
Yet they tell me I was young once
But I really don’t remember

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