Moving Round the Maypole

IMG_3653Moving Round the Maypole

Some nights they’d bang out the metal cannister of rolled-
up screen and cart out the magically upright projector case
with the hinged clasps, and play, after many gasps
of exasperation,
home movies.

Time seemed to tick with remorseful determination
on the rebound, tsk-tsking as the film
unwound, chittering
in reverse,

and always at the tail of what should have been
a family movie (meaning including me),
my brother, stepped awkwardly
towards us, with a twist of crepe paper
at his fist, in a circle of kids that conspicuously did not hold
his little sister.

How it blistered–my brother who didn’t even like
crepe paper,
my brother who walked
when he should
have danced,
my brother whose smirk seemed almost a smile
in the camera’s swerve,
as Mayday caught his crewcut
in its sun’s bristling
smile.

How strange that in the changes
of age, I now would happily give my brother
all the May dances
in the world
(having felt
the fall–)

and give him too
so many other mays: may
you be happy. May
you be free.  May
all beings be happy
and free–

and how is it, that honestly.
I don’t think enough of all
these mays
nor of all
my true brothers

in this world
of hinged rewind,
clasped metal.

************************************

Final poem for this April 2016, for Magaly Guerrero’s prompt on Real Toads to write of maypoles.

I want to thank again Kerry O’ Connor and all the prompters and poets at Real Toads who have made this such a sustaining month for me.  And all readers and commenters!   Thanks so very much.

Photo above is by Meredith Martin. 

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13 Comments on “Moving Round the Maypole”


  1. I truly love those wishes of what have may can be, how hard it be to express to a sibling.. A sister for example.

  2. Rosemary Nissen-Wade Says:

    This one knocks me out, in the unsaid as much as the said. I. guess, if we have families, there is always, somewhere, grief.

  3. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    I grew up with a younger brother who now lives on the other side of the world from me. I think of our childhood as the only time we spent together – the good and the bad of it was all we got to be a part of each other’s lives. I feel your poem touches on partings in a way I can relate to.


  4. Your poem makes me think of my little brother, he passed away a couple of years ago. We were very closed, shared similar personalities, and our own way were the wild souls in our family… Although we did so many things together, not a day goes by when I wish we could have had more… Your poem alights that nostalgia, which I suspect will never leave me…

    Love the tone, the pacing, and the reflective voice.

  5. Sanaa Rizvi Says:

    Beautifully expressed..!

  6. whimsygizmo Says:

    This is s STUNNING piece, k.
    So much love for this:
    “and give him too
    so many other mays: may
    you be happy. May
    you be free. May
    all beings be happy
    and free–”

  7. Rommy Says:

    That sixth stanza is really wonderful. It speaks to all the love under all the bickering siblings do when they are young.

  8. Jim Says:

    Who is my brother? May ‘he’ …
    Clever, k.

  9. hedgewitch Says:

    Somehow that clanking whirling maypole cinema seems threatening and dark to me, so that perhaps one is secretly glad not to be tied to it, even with crepe paper? Regardless, a lot of the helpless feeling of chosen/not chosen and of being a powerless pawn or observer that is childhood here–redeemed by the very sincere lifelines of the power of adult love and concern.


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