Monday, May 30, 2022

The Heroes of Great Adventure

The picture did last longer
Than most of the memories
Of the day, but the picture

Is long gone now. Memories
Of the picture as the day
Fade in a handful of skulls,

All still alive, but rarely
Conversing with each other
These days. It was a log flume

Ride at the amusement park,
Which lasted a few minutes
And ended with a snapshot.

The brave boyfriend sat up front,
The red-haired, gap-toothed girlfriend
Next, then the girlfriend’s brother,

Next brother, younger sister.
No, wait, there was one small head,
Barely eyes above the seat,

At the very front, maybe
In the brave boyfriend’s embrace,
The youngest of the sisters.

Wasn’t that unsafe, even
By the laxer standards then?
But she was there, five years old,

Peeping out over the top
Of the front of the fake log
As chlorinated water

Exploded into her face.
She was sort of the bravest—
More pathologically so.

She was utterly fearless.
Once she leapt out of a car,
Right around that age in fact.

Everyone had a good time.
The two brothers were afraid,
But boasted they hadn’t been

So they wouldn’t shame themselves
In front of the brave boyfriend
And their red-headed sister.

Then they all grew up, even
The reckless kindergartner,
Even the silent sister

Who never shared her feelings,
Who sat tight-lipped in the back.
They each married somebody

They hadn’t yet met back then.
One of them married three times.
One of them twice. Four of them

Had babies, at least one each.
The redhead raised nine children.
Everyone who rode that log

Would hold down job after job.
Sometimes they held mortgages.
Sometimes they struggled for rent.

Nothing much happened to them.
None of them made waves, but they
Held tight and stayed. They were brave.

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