Alabama childhood magic
by Steven M. Quackenbush

It was red dirt and pine needles
It was the smell of fresh rain on hot tar roads
It was clean air made fresh by hundred-foot-tall pines
It was diving into a lake and swimming down till the water was cool
Alabama childhood magic
It was Hope Hull lazy afternoons smelling hay and decay in that big old      barn
It was banana spiders huge black and yellow filling half-open barn doors
It was fresh honeycomb from the Theisens
It was honeysuckles and morning glories
Alabama childhood magic
It was a two-wheeled freedom given by that perfect bike
It was riding down to the community center or a friend’s house
It was freedom from a world of worries
It was throwing that skunk-fighting dog in the stock tank
Alabama childhood magic
It was red dirt roads announcing visitors from a mile away
It was that Spanish terracotta roof on the house next door
It was green everywhere you looked and swimming holes at the end of      every trip
It was old cars and old people at old grocery stores
Alabama childhood magic
It was visitors like my brothers and uncles come once in a while with      stories of travels
It was big metal high round roofed pickup trucks
It was adventure through screen doors crashing shut
It was lightning bug chasing and sweet tea tasting
Alabama childhood magic
It was simple and enough
It was safety in a world so rough
It was the perfect Petri dish for my growth
It was magic because it was wild and free
It was Copperfield and Kreskin but no illusion
It was Alabama childhood magic

PHOTOGRAPH: “Ahhhhh Alabama” by JC Findley. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steven M. Quakenbush was born Montgomery Alabama, in 1966, and attended elementary, junior, and senior high school there. After serving in the U.S. Navy, he attended Auburn University of Montgomery. He moved to central Texas in 1991, became a carpenter and later an ironworker/welder, then started a career with Federal Express for the last 12 years. In 2014, he started writing poetry and performing it at various venues in and around Austin, Texas, and has been the featured poet at a Sunday night Austin, Texas, staple called Kick Butt Coffee.