Ellyn Maybe

How high everything must have looked.
3 years old in Manhattan.
I imagine your parents ate shredded wheat.
Would they understand you as you grew tall as a stack
of Joyce Carol Oates books?

3 and counting ellipses.
3 and libraries more important than toy cars.

I bet you saw those Chagall windows at Lincoln Center.
Or Frank O’Hara composing Lunch Poems on 53rd St.

At 3 were you already old?
The past biting your heels.

It must have been weird going back to Stockton.
Leaving corned beef for tongue tied.

It must have been hard to leave the yellowest taxis
and the orangest sun.

It must have been hard to grow up a New York Jew
without a New York.

Malamud, Singer, Bellow
Paley, Ozick, Aleichem
Potok, Kafka, Howe

Our baseball team of choice.

Your Stockton – 3000 miles away from a good egg cream.
My Milwaukee – 2000 miles away from Papaya king.

Both so far from Second Avenue.

There must have been tons of kids like us.
Wearing glasses at two.
Reading anything from Curious George to George Bernard Shaw.
Looking at the world with big brown eyes.
The world squinting back.

na na na na na
It won’t be easy.
na na na na na
Kindreds don’t grow on trees.

I think I heard a noise when your childhood fell.
The world is full of upended trees.

Lucky ones pull pulp from the citrus of eucalyptus
and make an alphabet.

Our apartments, bookmobiles.
Spines upon spines hold up the world.
As DSL is to them, D.H. Lawrence is to us.

We might not have met.
Bibliophiles wear solitude with crushed velvet.

When you left Manhattan, you let some bread crumbs
fall from your pocket.
Finding them, I memorized the places where hummingbirds go.

Years later, I left a marble rolling away from the pack
as though it had translucent wings.


ELLYN MAYBE, Southern California based poet, United States Artist nominee 2012, has performed both nationally and internationally as a solo artist and with her band. Her work has been included in many anthologies and she is the author of numerous books. She also has a critically acclaimed poetry/music album, Rodeo for the Sheepish (Hen House Studios). In addition to her band, her latest poetry/music project is called ellyn & robbie.