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Honeysuckle Wine

Michael Channing

i worked a dozen jobs
in six or seven years
called three cities home
gave my heart away
had it handed back broken
and now i'm on my own
but what i miss is being six
in my clubhouse by the ditch
the air sweetly thickened
by the honeysuckle fence
i miss believing this
will be all there ever is
yesterday i had to choose
fix the car or pay the rent
i feel spent
if each paycheck is an island
i'm heading further out to sea
with only the sky to hear me
when i call for help
i miss that summer freedom
when july was forever
and the fireflies knew my name
five dollars was a fortune
and it could linger in my pocket
as i ambled slowly in the rain
i know my father felt this same frustration
i heard it in his fists
beat nightly on my mother's back
i read my mother's pain
tattooed blue and black
i can still get drunk
on honeysuckle wine
but the ditch won't take me back
and the fence is a barrier
with my childhood on the other side
if i could speak to that six-year-old
boy i used to be
if i could look into his sky-wide eyes
i'd confess the years between us
and i'd apologize

Honeysuckle Wine

The Fireflies Knew My Name

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Chokes and Warbles
Now Available

Chokes and Warbles, a collection of essays and poems by Michael Channing