Occasionally a tale of childhood

turns up in the soil broken by spade

and hoe as we dig up ancient roots:


once a small hard rubber ball

that now rests on the top shelf

of my bookcase; once a tiny black


horse of hard plastic washed of earth

which stands on the kitchen window sill

with its head forever lowered, hoof slanted


and the tiny shoe that speak the history

of the girls who once lived in the house

we have now and, who, I like to think,


found solace in them after their mother died

hear the ball bounce against the wall

watch as a little tea set trimmed in blue


is set atop stacks of books, a cup

for each of them and one for her, too,

and I am reminded of pieces of my history


stored like pages from everlasting landscapes

and scattered across my time here and hereafter:

the green toy soldiers that were “my men,”


pieces from the plastic- covered couch

on which Betty and I sat in juvenile love

nearly sticking to it in the inferno of our first kiss,


all of the old containers tossed from the windows

of moving cars, or left on park benches, or in

apartments when someone left someone else


I want to believe that a lonely child

has found one of my toys and kept it

and imagined a history for it that will


become finally a part of my story

for someone else to tell

I think this as we pull more things


from the earth, plastic witnesses, we keep

some, discard others, fertilize the places

where they’d been and plant roses, tulips, irises.


Ted Thomas has published three chapbooks of his poetry, and is currently working on his first book length collection. He has conducted poetry writing workshops in prisons, colleges, hospitals, and a shelter for women. Mr. Thomas has edited several anthologies of poetry, and he has twice been poet-in-residence at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, MA. A former faculty member at Roxbury Community College and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, he lives with his wife, Sarah, in Pittsfield, MA.