fire
for John Gibson
I watch you on MSNBC,
the same fire in your eyes
I remember from the days in
Mrs. Hedgepeth's 7th grade
Language Arts classes.
we sat in the back,
were pals instantly, stayed pals
for years.
with strawberry hair,
light blue eyes racing
an intelligence you could
barely keep up with,
you left sparks in your trail.

you always could write anything
and were never afraid to speak
your truth.
look at you now.
we've talked on the phone
now and again
and I've watched you
via television waves
for years, from this station
to that, this network to that,
the big stories, the interviews,
entrancing me with that
brightness and keen sight,
making me think.

all the while in the back of my memory
a still of us outside the gym at lunch.
spring, 1959.
zoom in, it comes to life,
lost video to all but me.
you'll never see it on the news.
leaning against the wall,
we stand in big smiles.
I, with pony tail, bucket bag,
white rolled-up sleeve blouse,
quilted circular skirt with
purple and yellow roosters,
watch and listen as you talk.
what is it you're telling me
this time, you in your
white polo shirt and jeans,
tan bucks with the red soles,
weight on one foot, the other
crossed over, resting confidently
on its toe.
catching thoughts flying
through that mind of yours,
you look off now and then,
ever so casual,
yet lit on fire.


© April 1998 Leslye Layne Russell

This poem was published in the
May 1998 issue of One Dog Press.


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