Lemons

Tyler Sheldon PhotoAs a baby I’m told I would eat lemons
Grinding pulp between nubby teeth
Spitting seeds to the wind
Or the garden already overgrown with yellow marigolds

Our Schnauzer would eat gummy Payday candy bars
Peanuts in his sharp doggy teeth
While my parents painted the kitchen yellow
The neighbors’ fence become my spot
For cold cold ice cream or small padded books
It led to the faded yellow tetherball out back
Before I knew about its owner’s cheating
His wife’s insanity
And even then it was across the street anyway
In the middle of Oz
So I was safe

The flag-bearing wooden bear kept me safe
On walks around the neighborhood
I would sail my yellow paper ships in the backyard pool
Make vinegar volcanoes
Be a kid because I was good at it
And I liked it that way

– Tyler Sheldon is the Press Manager for Flint Hills Review, and is a Creative Writing student at Emporia State University. His poetry has been published in numerous journals, such as Tulgey Wood, Quivira, Periphery, Thorny Locust, and eleven to seven, and is forthcoming in I-70 Review. The 2012 anthology To The Stars Through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices featured his poem “Fall” alongside work by Kansas Poet Laureates Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg and Denise Low. He has self-published a chapbook, Being (American).

– April’s Guest Editor, Roy Beckemeyer, edits scientific journals and writes poetry and essays. His poems have most recently been accepted by or appeared in The Midwest Quarterly, The North Dakota Quarterly, Straylight, Nebo, Mikrokosmos, Coal City Review, and The Lyric.  He lives in Wichita, Kansas and has degrees from St. Louis University, Wichita State University, and The University of Kansas.

He notes: “In the poem series I have chosen for April, I have  focused on works that define our sense of Time and Place by the people we know, the people we interact with, the people we live with. “

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2 thoughts on “Lemons

  1. Tyler–Your poems are incredibly evocative. It’s difficult for me to give voice to how they make me feel, but they always take me back to my childhood. Childhood, that place where we try to figure out the strangeness of our lives and what’s around us. This is a good thing.

  2. Fun memory poem! Love the images and the underscored simplicity of your conclusion:

    Be a kid because I was good at it
    And I liked it that way

    Amazing! This sounds like the same 50s Wichita childhood of my husband, Kelly Yenser, in his poem “The Disambiguation of Katydids” in Bosque Magazine:

    “When I was a kid in the neighborhood / we did what we did / and we did what we could / and we never did better.”

    This just proves you CAN step twice into the same place in the river of time in Wichita!

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