weren't built to let the sunlight in. They were large to let the germs out. When polio, which sounds like the first dactyl of a jump rope song, was on the rage, you did not swim in public waters. The awful thing was an iron lung. We lined up in our underwear to get the shot. Some kids fainted, we all were stung. My cousin Speed sat in a vat of ice cubes until his scarlet fever waned, but from then on his heart was not the same. My friend's girlfriend was murdered in a hayfield by two guys from Springfield. Linda got a bad thing in her blood. Everybody's grandmother died. Three times, I believe, Bobby shot his mother. Rat poison took a beloved local bowler. A famous singer sent condolences. In the large second floor corner room of my 4th grade class the windows were open. Snow, in fat, well-fed flakes floats in where they and the chalk-motes meet. And the white rat powder, too, sifts down into a box of oatmeal on the shelf below.
Copyright © 2012 by Thomas Lux. Used with permission of the author.