2021-2022, Poem

childhood nostalgia

Featured in the 2022 Spring Issue of Rambunctious

childhood nostalgia
Gabby McNally, '24

imagine you are taken back in time,
     the couch is not comfortable once broken in and slept on.
          when your face meets leather, your sink right into the side,
               you are invisible.
                    when sleep-spit coats your pillow and cheek, there’s static while you slumber,
                         and childhood nostalgia stings.

on the trampoline in the backyard,
     near the dead cat cemeteries, you are not told you’ll go flying without the cage.
         (to you, that means you’ll fly, maybe you will fly away)
             your fingers just get stuck in springs.
                and the faded circle that marks the spot of your brother’s old footprints
                     free days were spent high in the air.

quesadillas, but from the kitchen,
    and ninja turtles in the present day, always on your old tv.
       parents fighting, parents crying as you try to take a nap,
           red light, blue light, loud, bright flashlight
               your tears sting, too, but not worse than bruises do, or more than
                   melted ice cream, reflecting back childhood nostalgia.

after all, things are so simple,
    you have bowls with straws, plates with compartments. cups with animals alike.
        the candy drawer, the clip drawer, the eldest, weakest drawer,
           the sharp edge of the table hit your bruised knee,
               again. the nail polish stains, and the clay’s still in
                   the carpet. and to think, it’d be hell to go back.

you want to see how things are doing,
     but your dad would never go down that street, he’d never even go back again.
        the only family he ever could have had, the last resort he’d never known.
            if only fists were ample mouths to explain
                things the dread he feels for making you
                    if only we didn’t look best in red and blue.