Angie Crea O'Neal


College Park, Georgia

Climb the streets of your first town, the one that still lives in the
rill of time, there in the melting blue before rivers. Go back and
make snow angels in the shallow dusting of thought, swing on the
branches of unknowing. Revisit and eat the scrolls that tell the story
of your youth. Search for old friends hanging on memory like
gossamer, tell them what you’ve learned, confess to them your faults.

Whisper all you’ve lost and retreat to those early places to feel the
weight of the sturdy wood beneath, wrapped tight in a soft lawn of
cotton blanket. Recall the hours scrubbing dirt from your fingers,
splinters coaxed from skin with tweezers. Don’t forget about the pine
straw pillows, no fear of ditchwater, those close encounters under a
broken porch light. Walk roads with names you no longer remember

and wander along dirt paths that lead to forest dells, drop sticks in the
creek and watch them float east, towards the center. Retrace your steps
and find rest under a thick quilt of forgetting like a strong arm nestled
in the arch of your back. Climb the streets of your childhood, the place
that still holds you, haunts you like a dream, like a close, constant hand
on your shoulder.

Angie Crea O'Neal

holds the Joan Alden Speidel Chair in English at Shorter University in Rome, Georgia, where she lives with her two daughters. Her poems have recently appeared in San Pedro River Review and Kentucky Review.