by Allen Strous

The closet wallpaper
maybe in the whole room,
red roses browning on brown, browning--
the vague sentimental absolute
and even more that brown,
what the coming rain contains,
age spot, meaning there was more,

all the dimensions, distances in the chintzy out-of-date
in that upstairs room of the cottage we weren't supposed to be in,
but one of the big kids had to use the bathroom
__all yellow and brown, of its time, of age
at the park, site of our mothers' ladies' club picnic

someone knew how to get in, said it was all right.
The big kids know,
with kindly a few of us five-year-olds in tow
of their glamor.

They knew so much, looked so good, so sure,
so there, as much as the grown-ups, without the haggard draining started.

__Though I grew, I was never there, never have been,

never in that round wading pool
that we passed and passed that day,
where I wanted to go,
know the water, that other,
so little of it in my inland childhood.
There would have been no water-heaviness--
in it would be flight,
that feeling, that easy, without my fear of heights,
just seeing myself in some more brilliant air,
being brilliant in it

in fields of roses,
a delirium of roses,
not the florist's vases
but what is in the fold of a cloud,
more than out,
not so definite
but more tremendous.

The wallpaper still blooms in a closet somewhere.

Illya's Honey Literary Journal

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