Buddy Holly was on the radio,
I didn’t know I should think
I couldn’t be someone.

My mother had a woodpecker
toothpick holder
that grabbed the picks
in its beak.
Everybody had them then
and I loved each one
as though it were the first
I’d ever seen.

“This is Your Life” sold
gold lockets through the mail,
I waited for months
for mine to come.

The first apartment
I rented on my own
was an odd alley place,
which I always remember
as feeling like no other
place I ever lived.

I didn’t stay long.
It felt so strange,
as though it were built
under a bridge or under the el,
or under something, though
our town had nothing really
for it to be built under.
A one-door place – they
have always made me claustrophobic,
that gave me a loneliness
it took me a long, long time
to lose.