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One tiny whiff of a certain cedar shrub whooshes me

back to Huntington Street and a picket fence around

my grandparents’ yard where we kids made our own games.

My sister and I picked plums from the tree at the back fence

the neighbor advising us to make baskets of our skirts

my grandmother then scolding us for doing so

and using some choice words for her neighbor.

She did make anyway jars and jars of plum jelly

that none of us particularly liked but ate halfheartedly.

Two white Adirondack chairs sat in the backyard

always filled on a warm summer evening by the adults,

my grandparents, my parents or my aunt though

we girls sometimes perched on the wide flat arms.

A square contraption of a clothesline that turned,

a cloth sack of wooden clothespins, an apple basket

lined with cloth that my grandmother used for laundry,

a chimneyed red brick barbecue where my grandfather

and later my aunt grilled bratwurst and hot dogs,

all those things long ago fallen into disrepair

and discarded, the adults of my memories dead and gone

and surely the cedar shrubs from which all this springs

have since died of old age and been replaced by

azaleas or blue hydrangeas.

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