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The rain woke me
tapping on the window
reminding me of a boyhood friend

I never had who’d toss gravel
against the glass until I eased
myself out crept to the edge

of the porch roof & shimmied
down the walnut’s rough trunk
I did that a few times even

without the prompt
someone might be out there
it was worth checking

& something always was
I’d hear rapid footsteps on the lawn
a rustle in the compost pit

I’d climb into bed half an hour later
with dirt on my feet & grass
stains on my PJs breathing hard

pull the blankets over my head
& listen to the blood drumming
behind my ears

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

7 Comments


  1. I like the memories and feelings evoked here, and the aerial-map-like quality of the image.

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  2. There is something indeed haunting about this poem. Sort of a cross between Tom Sawyer and rural mischief. A spray of rain or sleet does sound a lot like gravel on the pane. I personally would have eschewed the tree shimmying for the front door, though. One could be thankful, however, that their weapon of choice was not toilet paper in the trees.

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  3. I hate to say this, but that’s a sweet poem. I think so much about the brother my son never had. He’s always throwing gravel, but I’m not sure at whose window.

    I did that a few times even

    without the prompt

    That’s fun, with the picture and all.

    I love this poem.

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  4. I agree with prior comments — both haunting and sweet.

    Apropos of nothing, I was just walking on the Rivanna Trail, and on the way back, I briefly saw a Great Blue Heron. Even glimpsed from a distance, it was breathtaking — an immediate reminder of why the Indians considered them sacred.

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  5. marja-leena – Hey, you’re right – it does look a bit like an aerial photo, doesn’t it?

    Joan – Well, it was probably from Tom Sawyer that I got the idea of friends signaling to each other that way. But our remote location and my loner nature meant that I didn’t really have any frineds like that. We had strict bedtimes and my parent’s bedroom was adjacent to mine, hence the subterfuge.

    Peter, dale – Thanks for commenting.

    David – GB Herons have more than a bit of the prehistoric about them, don’t they? We’re only a mile from a small river here, so occasionally one will fly overhead.

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  6. Prehistoric, yeah — a reminder that birds really are the last of the dinosaurs.

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