I began reading Clint Smith's poetry collection, Counting Descent, on a gloomy Thursday at about noon. I was working, life gaurding barely qualifies as a job on dull days like these. I settle down with my book in a lounging lawn chair to come about the poem, "Ode to the End-of-Year 6th Grade Picnic". The only poem I "doggy eared". I catch myself reminiscing on my own similar experience. Smith constructs his poem with riddles of caeseras, each stanza perfectly divided into four lines each. A perfect square.
"The girls danced in clusters,
becoming accustomed to the burgeoning parabola
of their hips, learning the power they wielded over boys
who were dawdling amalgamations of awkward"
Do you remember when you first looked in the mirror and saw yourself as a woman, maybe a teenager, nonetheless, no longer a child. You noticed your hips growing sideways and breasts budding. I believe that's the beginning of the ending of childhood. The thinning of what little innocence we have left once these realizations are among our thoughts. Smith's poem is written as if he has gone back. Not as if he is on the out looking in, not as a child within the moment. But as a man whom is now going back to his child self to remember the feeling that was there. And that's the goal, for the reader to feel the same nostalgia he is, because we've all experienced this exact feeling.