The Last Spelling Walk: Idris Goodwin

The Last Spelling Walk: Idris Goodwin

We call them “Spelling Walks” My son and I after dinner
I point out an object
He puts it back together


The neighbors sometimes wave As they water their drying bushes Mow their patch of grass
Rub wax on their F-150s
Honest. Decent. Family.
As advertised

George, we’ll call him, has two big black dogs He is salt of the residential
We bullshit over the shared melodrama
that is professional football

It’s a neighborhood
We walk this loop, my boy and I


Every dusk we parade our brown bodies
Up and around this residential street Breaking down words and what lies beneath

George’s yard was the first
Matter fact he had two–just so you didn’t get it confused. The deep blue.
The red and white outlines.
The slogan.

He spells the biggest word, asks for definition
I move him along with no explanation
He is only 4
His voice a thunderous beam of imagination
My son in his hard hat, wielding his plastic hammer Repairing the street’s cracks

Scored by a chorus of three dogs
Behind a fence
My son too focused on improvement to notice

A neighbor, we’ll call him James, rolls by in SUV We make space, down comes the window
His leery face reminiscent of a mortician

“I love those dogs. They protect the neighborhood from strangers”

He drives away
We beeline for home Our hands clutched It’s getting dark

More and more the signs
have sprouted up like fall mushrooms
One small yard is adorned with 15. Red. White. Blue. There are more signs than blades of grass

We stopped the spelling walks
And he doesn’t know why
This boy of mine whose DNA carries Two cultures paved with deep cracks

This hungry boy is thirsty for definitions
I am fearful to dole out portions too big
His throat cant break down words this heavy

Or maybe he can Perhaps it’s me who lacks

The stomach

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