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  • Small moments
    Caught in memory’s amber
    These we wear
    Dog tags

    Riding the bus back from bush camp
    The boys chatter
    Four days at camp
    A lifetime away from home
    Guys, guys, guys
    Do you remember
    Yeah and then
    And when
    Yeah, yeah, yeah

    But when they turned
    and faced their reflections in the bus windows
    Did they recall:

    All the others have gone chattering on ahead
    The dust settles softly
    The bush suddenly alive with rustling and shifting shadows,
    His flashlight beam picks out the waiting spider
    just as the web’s soft and clinging touch
    Brushes his cheek.

    He’s frozen there
    Trembling inside his blue, mud streaked Superman t-shirt
    Hands clenched on the top of the wall.
    No way down except to let go.

    Face down in muddy water,
    One with the swamp
    The log low and unmoving ahead
    No way over only the deep breath and the plunge under.

    A bridge of swaying poles
    knuckles white against the ropes,
    look at me I tell him and
    we step-together, step-together
    to the other side.

    As the city gathered us back in
    they clapped.
    Like passengers on a plane landing after a long, rough flight
    We’re back!
    The first thing I’m gonna do
    My games
    The internet
    I’ve got so much catching up to do

    To pools ringed by tiles
    Not ponds fringed with scrub and thorn
    to temperature control
    to heroics on the field of digital warfare
    not sweat and fear
    and exhilaration
    all under the blazing sun.
    But they carry now these
    small moments
    small moments of breaking through to
    reach the other side.
    Only small moments
    Small moments encased in memory’s amber
    We carry them
    Dog tags
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