Letter to Brooks [Spring Garden]
1. When you have forgotten (to bring into Play that fragrant morsel of rhetoric, Crisp as autumnal air), when you Have forgotten, say, sun-lit corners, brick Full of skyline, rowhomes, smokestacks, Billboards, littered rooftops & wondered What bread wrappers reflect of our hunger, 2. When you have forgotten wide-brimmed hats, Sunday back-seat leather rides & church, The doorlock like a silver cane, the broad backs Swaying or the great moan deep churning, & the shimmer flick of flat sticks, the lurch Forward, skip, hands up Ailey-esque drop, When you have forgotten the meaningful bop, 3. Hustlers and their care-what-may, blasé Ballet and flight, when you have forgotten Scruffy yards, miniature escapes, the way Laundry lines strung up sag like shortened Smiles, when you have forgotten the Fish Man Barking his catch in inches up the street "I've got porgies. I've got trout. Feeesh 4. Man," or his scoop and chain scale, His belief in shad and amberjack; when You have forgotten Ajax and tin pails, Blue crystals frothing on marble front Steps Saturday mornings, or the garden Of old men playing checkers, the curbs White-washed like two lines out to the burbs, 5. Or the hopscotch squares painted new In the street, the pitter-patter of feet Landing on rhymes. "How do you Like the weather, girls? All in together girls, January, February, March, April... " The jump ropes' portentous looming, Their great, aching love blooming. 6. When you have forgotten packs of grape Flavored Now & Laters, the squares Of sugar flattening on the tongue, the elation You felt reaching into the corner-store jar, Grasping a handful of Blow Pops, candy bars With names you didn't recognize but came To learn. All the turf battles. All the war games. 7. When you have forgotten popsicle stick Races along the curb and hydrant fights, Then, retrieve this letter from your stack I've sent by clairvoyant post & read by light. For it brought me as much longing and delight. This week's Father's Day; I've a long ride to Philly. I'll give this to Gramps, then head to Black Lily.
From Hoops, published by W. W. Norton & Company. Copyright © 2006 by Major Jackson. Used with permission.
Major Jackson is the author of five collections of poetry, including The Absurd Man (W. W. Norton, 2020), Roll Deep (W. W. Norton, 2015), and Leaving Saturn (University of Georgia, 2002), winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award.
Date Published: 2006-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/letter-brooks-spring-garden