Something about the town itself.
(Its size maybe? The bend in the road?)
A game that your father taught us
(Perhaps I’ve filed it away with his familiar jokes
and tips for identifying changes in weather)
to, at best, find good luck or, at least, avoid bad.
We treated our faith in superstition
much as we did Catholicism.
It was best to play along, to not risk
missing the wish or the blessing.
It required more than simple ritual, though.
(You were especially fond of elaborate scavenger hunts
involving me dressing as an orphan and asking strangers
It called for trust in the sleight of hand.
We filled each day with twists, obstacles
only the other could overcome.
Thoughts we finished out of turn.
A high-pitched giggle, the snort, my hand on your arm while
doubled over. We stop whenever the laughter demands.
You remind me to take deep breaths.
(If you close your eyes, no one can see you.)
Are you passing on these secrets to your children?
Sharing the language that I’ve misplaced.
When did I stop limping through malls, speaking
in pig latin, believing in life after death?
Thumb on car window, feet off the floor
make a wish as we cross the railway tracks.
If we spoke today, would it all come back?
Would I be up to the challenge?
To see who could hold their breath the longest
as we pass through Jackson.