My mother, a teacher, kept a cerulean
Rand McNally globe stashed in her classroom:
my first hint at four that sobbing through
a doctor’s trip was chump change to the universe.
Twenty-six now and fumbling oaken chairs
and ceramic busts inside antique
shops, gangly in my way, just to locate
another orb. The right sphere. Eternal
in ultramarine and yelling me to spin,
to pay what I don’t have to recapture
a moment when the planet’s consequence
evoked more than sheer dread and knowing demise.
Now crave meaning, widen the scope — wanted:
a study of a Rand McNally globe.


Seven years I spent on that same street,
a short walk from St. Teresa’s, which between
school and church made itself inescapable.
But mom taught there, Pete in a higher class,
so I clipped on a black tie and swallowed.

We moved in ’97. Before that, some life;
first, me tiny in an urban house;
second, time in the park across the yard;
third, kneeling in playground broken glass;
fourth, sitting on the front stoop, ordinary;
fifth, watching fireworks, terrified;
sixth, cartoon basketball birthday parties;
seventh, getting up and leaving then.

Two years later, that urban house blazed up
but everyone’s okay. I can’t return,
not even if I wanted to. St. Teresa’s
closed too, condos now, no teachers left.
But Sunday services. Plenty of candles.