Little Kings

(Sights and Seasons Drinking with Reasons)
Christy Lynne Trotter

I always love the part of Fall
when leaves disappear—baring trees bald—
and when the sky ticks on
with impending shades of grey;
where sheets of rain cry on rooftops,
forcing gutters to clog.
I always laugh at the memory
of Dad cussing as he cleaned them out.
Soon, Fall would pass and Snow would show
its sly, white self, beckoning sleds and shovels.
But I much prefer the first week, of Fall, you know,
when leaves turn their colorful shades;
the air is brisk, crisp, and free.
The innocence of Mother Nature
remains playful, musical.
I like that week the best.
(It reminds me of my childhood.)

In those days of Fall,
Grandpa hiked his britches up,
and rested in his favorite
blue Lazy Boy rocker.
He’d grin as he lit a Camel unfiltered,
its smell mixing and mincing
with the wafts from Grandma’s
cabbage rolls—made with love from her
crooked, arthritic hands and fingers.
On days I’d visit,
we’d sit together, Grandpa and I,
and think in silent tandem.
In those days of Fall,
he never told me lies about the past
and false Springs.
(I figured out most of that on my own
by reading Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast.)

Drinking with reasons that not even
the cool Summer grass I used to run
barefoot on can replace, time always seemed to
stand still back then.
Now it rushes by,
escaping past river walls,
concrete beams,
paved highways we’ve all traveled too much on,
moving on to places I wish I could see,
I wish I could be.
Now I fear forgetting him,
forgetting her,
forgetting it all
(including the cabbage rolls).
But then there’s always the rain,
no matter the season.

Rain doesn’t only drizzle.
It pours like beer from the
Little Kings green bottles Grandpa drank from.
The closest I can find these days
are bottles of Rolling Rock.
The year he died,
a river flooded.
And now, decades later,
puddles remain,
hidden in the mysteries of a Fall that once was.
I don’t mind the water sometimes though,
especially when I step
from boundary to boundary—
season to season
(without britches hiked up);
because the likelihood of wet shoes
will guide me along the rest of my way.

Besides, Grandpa always used to say,
“You can’t get through life without a little wet pant leg.
If you come out dry, you didn’t do it right.”

about the author
Christy Lynne Trotter, born and raised in the Dayton area, works as an English adjunct at Clark State Community College and with STEM students in Springfield. Her work has appeared locally in previous editions of Mock Turtle Zine and Sinclair Community College’s Flights. When not educating on the finer points of academic writing, Christy Lynne loves pushing her audience to emotional boundaries with her short stories and poems. Her most recent freelance work can be found on U.S. News and World Report‘s website which includes a photo and information profile on the city of Dayton, ranked one of the best places to live in the United States.