It begins in Tucson,
Joining the neighbor twins
At their folks’ Orange Julius
Stand, sipping sugary
Orange syrup, ducking into the
Shade to escape the Sonoran sun.
The stoop by the driveway
Was just the right height –
Pushing off to gain
Balance on my first bike,
Wobbly yet still rolling
Out into the street with all those
Hints of childhood freedom.
Other neighborhood kids
Had stuff, a Thing Maker and
Gobbledy Goop, succumbing
To Saturday morning commercials.
Everything was brought to you by.

Even then I knew
It was a U2 rising
Above the desert sands,
A crucifix in flight
Like the cross at St Paul’s
Where Dad was a lay-reader.
Pre-school, cacti, roadrunners,
Once slinging my Etch-a-Sketch
Watching it as it slipped
From my hands, crashing
High on the wall, the screen
Cracking in the corner.

Mid-60s, Beatles on the radio,
Dad in uniform heading out
To work at the base, spy
Planes soaring in the sky.
Another hot desert day
On the home front
Of the Cold War.