James Francis Cahillane












My childhood memories are safely gone,
Resettled in an unused section of brain,
Unless dredged up by an unexpected whiff
Of warm maple syrup, by the monochromatic
Flash of a snow-suited child, or by the howl
Of a lonely hound.
Let the gang go. Am I supposed to be a
Walking, talking, writing Time machine?
Okay, let them stay: poor, happy,
Carefree kids of the past. Fools, who
Prayed for snow, then froze on borrowed
Toboggans, or slyly gotten sleds; shoveled to skate
On Double Duck pond, using fire and ice for warmth.
Summer daredevils,
Who leapt off the highway bridge into the diverted
Dark Mill River water bright with hosiery dyes, and
Condemned for raw sewage by an engineer.
South Street Commandos making paths with bowie knives and
Surplus machetes to fight enemy hordes were felled, said the
Gazette, by sumac poisoning.
Five brothers, one sister.
We created a world where outsiders were tolerated
At best. And who were, in every sense—unnecessary.
Peter Pans, out until dusk, and defiantly in no rush to grow up.
Did anyone die?
Veterans came back from the war to be mechanics.
Mom and Dad’s batteries never seemed to tire.
What memories!
What days!
They’re gone.
All gone.

The Distillery, Motlow State Community College, Lynchburg, TN