In Eighth Grade, all of my sentences were dotted with Random Capitalizations.
I was told only Proper words were to be Capitalized, and Suddenly I Couldn’t Write a Sentence with Less than Five.
When I was Young, and Success meant Moving to a House without Crabgrass, I spend the days rolling down Hills and building Mansions in the Sky, spitting Tire swings and Ziplines. It’s funny, how even Then, I hammered bookshelves into Tree trunks, forgetting that anything so Vast as a story could Warp with the Weather.
“just because you like a word, doesn’t make it special,” she scolded, Squinting at journal assignments Written in Purple Ink. It’s funny, how even Then, I couldn’t help but Think how much Nicer the board would look with Mrs. JoHanSon written through the center.
In my Rush to explain the way the Lake behind my house, Drained, Empty, and Bursting with Ambition, threw light like Confetti across a field of Aspen Saplings, I had forgotten to forgo Excitement at ever Syllable that carved Rivers into Lined Paper and Canyons into Classrooms. If Only she could SEE How Proper Words Were!
“you are not writing formally enough.”
In ninth grade, all of my sentences were ended with periods.
The neighbor’s dog has escaped.
Fifth night of gunshots and flashing lights from television sets on the other side of the wall,
I don’t blame him for running.
He started planning Monday. Follow the bootprints baked in mud to wherever they went but didn’t come back. She usually wasn’t gone this long, he’d be thinking. Waiting patiently by the door while cigarette buds filled the dog bowl.
On Wednesday when She still wasn’t home, and the tears from the man on the couch didn’t reach the water bowl, he tilted his head and wondered why She’d left her slippers in the bathroom.
Thursday he spent digging up bones in the backyard.
Friday he spent packing his bags.
Saturday he said goodbye to the squirrels in the tree behind the shed, and
Sunday, when the TV movie marathon ended, and the man on the couch left the house to get groceries, he followed him outside the gate, dragging a suitcase of her scent and the summer evenings they all went to the park.
The neighbor’s dog escaped. Hopped a train to Wherever-She-was and never looked back.
And the man returned from the store to find the last living thing gone, apologies still perched on his lip. We heard the crash from the hall, as the dog food bag broke, and little brown pellets scattered across the porch.