In fifth grade I won the coveted marble championship,
a sport requiring the marbler to mentally calculate
distances, directions, angles and carom trajectories,
a sport cerebral, but also strenuous and boyish,
crouching in the dirt in the outdoors...
at that distant time beneath cloud-scraping oaks
playing bombsies under silver Sputnik skies.
Secretively, away from my marbler pals, I was a big reader
and would have loved to have won the Spelling Bee;
but at the beginning of character formation
my self-concept of Scholar-Marbler was still inchoate,
developing to my present life as an aggie taw...
a grown boy of knuckle-down exercise regimen
playing potties, shooting with orthographically written words.
Sometimes wistfully returning for a while to simpler times
of dirt-crawling, sky-gaping boyhood innocence,
I try real, real hard to look around beyond the ring
with caroming agate-thoughts and upward gaze,
noticing and remembering...
marking and minding the winners-keepers games
playing keepsies out under tall, oak-scraped marbler skies.