The Start of a Beautiful Friendship

I am going to continue my celebration of National Poetry Month with this little diddy.


In the first place

There as Mom and Dad, and Dad’s mom and dad,

Then Mom’s mom and dad,

Then music from a boom box,

Then sparks off a skateboard at midnight,

Then the second tier of an ice cream cone hitting the sidewalk.

That’s what woke us, Fernie and me,

The sounds of the world, and pairs and pairs of grown-up eyes

Looking at us.

Sure, Fernie was in his house,

And me, I was in my house. But we were already buds,

Already meant to pluck grass and stuff it in our mouths.

We were born. We were here.

Both as bald as plucked chickens and clucking like chickens,

For neither of us knew a word.

Me, I pushed away from Grandpa’s carrot-thick finger.

Fernie, I know, spit out his mush.

We made our escape.

We crawled across rugs, each of us pulling our weight,

And made our way across lawns and patches of mud,

Through weeds tall as Zulu spears.

First sight.

Fernie was eating an apple that fell from a tree.

Me, I was sucking a stalk of grass.

Fernie! I called. It’s Me!

Fernie crawled toward me, and I toward him –

We began to wrestle and pull each other’s hair,

And, oh, how I squealed when he wrung my ears like washrags.

We were such good friends.

–from Fearless Fernie: Hanging Out with Fernie and Me by Gary Soto


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