Patric Pepper

Poem Written on the Back of a Teabag Wrapper

It’s so long ago it seems
Like a few minutes ago
Mother dressed you for April wind
And sun as bright
As it can never be again
Let you out the kitchen door
Said something about not roaming too far
You didn’t know it then
And she didn’t know it then
That you had already roamed too far
Onto the next acre next door
And next acre next door to that
And that and that
Down the-dirt-road-behind-all-the-houses
Road that sent up clouds of earth
When an elderly man drove down it toward home
Each evening in a black car
Shaped like a lady bug dressed for a funeral
No, Mother didn’t know and you didn’t know
How you already swung—
Pendulum of now that you were and are—
On a distant neighbor’s swing set
Swung and swung already back and forth—enchanted
Till bored stiff with an entirety you could not name
You let go, you vaulted
Flew from the swing
Were brought down to earth
By Newtonian physics with no inkling
That quantum mechanics would put you
In many places at many times at the same time
Just another particle of near-nothing
Yes, it’s so long ago that today
You fly yourself like a kite
Look down to see—yourself
Sprawled in the tender grass
Gazing at clouds
Beside a swing set
Pretending as all good children do
To be dead
Which you were and weren’t
And are and aren’t
So there you are in the grass
Still looking back
At you

Patric Pepper is the author of Temporary Apprehensions, (winner of the Washington Writers’ Publishing House Poetry Prize) and two poetry chapbooks. His work has appeared most recently in, or is forthcoming from, The Broadkill Review, Gargoyle, and the Washington Writers’ Publishing House anthology, This Is What America Looks Like, 2021. Pepper lives in Washington, D.C.



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