Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Marching Band

The notes were floating
they cut through the air
and when they reached me
they were barely there…..
but I heard them
soaking up, soaking
the early evening sun
wafting, waving inside me
I could hear each player’s note
each marching members aria
calling to me in the distance
their resonance barely finding me
suffering the loss of space between us
scarcely crawling to me
reaching me as only a hum
a beating, distant hum
that marching band on the hill
so far away, that junior high
That memory scorched into me
forty or so years ago
the lovely, lovely night air
the blossoms everywhere
throwing papers onto porches
shushing the McDaniel’s dog
saying hello to David’s house
as I did every day
remembering how we’d play
since he died so young.
That beautiful, wonderful old woman
on the corner of 17th and “E”
whose husband suffered a stroke
she loved him so dearly.
She would lead him to the drive
to sit every day, he enjoyed the wind.
He scared me so
unable to talk, his face contorted
his desperate eyes searching
but only for a friend
I know that now
but not then.
She knew I was scared, I think
I didn’t say, but it must have been on my face.
So she kept him in
locked him away
took away that part of his day
at newspaper time
I hate myself for that
And the marching band played and played
their soft inflection barely haunting my young ears
me thinking of them so far away
seeing them in my mind
red uniforms with gold frilly tassels
sweating underneath, carefully
finding that right step
of course the smallest of them all
lugging that huge drum around
sometimes I wonder, sometimes
what they are doing today
even as I write away
Did the piccolo player find love?
Are his children hugging him now?
does he remember that day
when his notes came my way
It was so long ago
this memory burned into me
I get to keep it forever
like a thief of life’s most wonderful things

© 2011 John Richter