Dermot O’Halloran /​/​Flickr Walking
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My first walk is also my first memory—

On the purple carpet, in the living room
Of that bungalow in the suburbs built
For the soldiers who returned from the war.

One parent directed me towards the other,
Who waited with open arms,
Both of them smiling, encouraging,

My brothers on the stairway cheering. No,

I don’t recall if there was music playing
Or if an uncle was filming that historic
Occasion, I couldn’t tell you anything

About the Cold War outside or how
The country was about to collide
With itself — you wouldn’t ask me then

About what would become of us:

One parent’s exploding heart,
The other parent’s vanishing mind—

I don’t even remember if I made it
To the other side without falling:

The only thing I can say with certainty

Is that, between one parent and the other,
I somehow stood up and stumbled into my life.

Pittsburgh Quarterly is now accepting submissions for its weekly online poetry feature. PQ Poem is seeking poetry from local, national and international poets that highlight a strong voice and good use of imagery, among other criteria. To have your work featured, send up to three previously unpublished poems in Word or PDF format as well as a brief bio to

Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but if work is accepted elsewhere, please alert us.

Philip Terman

Philip Terman’s most recent books of poetry are Our Portion: New and Selected Poems (Autumn House Press) and Like a Bird Entering a Window and Leaving Through Another Window, a hand-​sewn collaboration with an artist and bookbinder. A selection of his poems, My Dear Friend Kafka, has been translated into Arabic and published by Ninawa Press. His poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Poetry, The Kenyon Review, The Sun Magazine, The Georgia Review, The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish Poetry, Extraordinary Rendition: American Writers on Palestine, and 99 Poems for the 99 Percent. His poems have been featured on The Writer’s Almanac and Poetry Daily. He teaches at Clarion University, is co-​director of The Chautauqua Writers Festival, and directs the Bridge Literary Arts Center in Franklin, PA. His poetry can be found on the sculptor James Simon’s mosaic, “Musicians,” at the Squirrel Hill Food Pantry. Occasionally, he performs his poetry with the jazz band, Catro.

Other stories in this category: « Homewood Cemetery Home Movies »
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