The Green-Painted Light

Kaleb Wachala

There's an old street lamp outside my window

that lives in the park across the street.


It's lifeless, and looms there like a lighthouse with no boat to guide home; no rocky shores to warn

distant travelers of and no cliff for you to fall a thousand feet to your death


It sits.

It waits.


It’s hopeful, but worries like a mother who has sent her baby off to war. "Oh say, can you see" the

bullets flying? No safe every tear that hits her pillow that night spatters like blood.


It sits.

It waits.

It's graceful, and gives like the old woman who feeds the birds…wrinkled hands and broken spirit that seems just held together enough to flick her wrist slightly. Seeds hit the ground, singing a symphony of ceaseless songs.


It sits.

It waits.


But mostly, it reminds, and brings me back to when I was a child, laughing, playing, screaming at the top

of my lungs "ready or not, here I come". facing fears and facing myself with as many dreams as the leaves on the trees, stars in the sky, and bruises on my shins.


It was from a time when every day was longer, and the sun was in the sky for God-only-knows how long, and the clock was just some hands and numbers. A time when no differences divided, and every friend was mine because of what they held inside them. A time where my bike took me any place I wanted to

go because, in those days, the wheels were always below. A time where growing up was an option, not a certainty, where there were only two doors and I chose number three. A time where no tree was too tall for me to climb, and I made the game-winning shot every single time. A time where I felt every kiss my mother gave, and when she tucked me in, I was counting down the hours until the next day.


But what I remember most are my green grass-stained knees at night, and that green-painted light, guiding me home.

It sits.
It waits.

For another like me

I sit.

I wait.

For it all to come back…

Euphemism Campus Box 4240 Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4240