Welcome to the second installment of a series I’m doing called Behind the Poems. You can see the first post here.
I had the great honor of having one of my earliest published poems accepted at The Cypress Dome, the literary journal from my alma mater, the University of Central Florida. This poem, workshopped in my poetry class, was published during my last year at the school right before I graduated.
This poem depicts a fond memory from my childhood when I was about eight or nine years old. It was the first time I’d been allowed to be up so late, way past midnight, and witness something spectacular. I still remember how magical it felt and I wanted to capture that emotion in the imagery.
I don’t actually know if the meteor shower I saw were the Leonids, but when I looked up the events of that year for research, this seemed the closest occurrence. It’s not about the accuracy of the facts, because this is coming from a child’s perspective. There’s even a reference to my favorite Disney movie from that time. I’ll let you decipher it.
The Toyota featured in this poem is long gone now. It’s surreal to read this poem with that car mentioned because a few years later, it went up in flames on the side of the highway in Miami Springs. For me, this poem serves as a historical record of things that were and will always be frozen in time.
I also remember from this event I was allowed to stay home from school the next day for being up late. This was a big to-do, as staying home from school usually only happened if we were really sick. It was one of my first lessons in understanding that some things in life are more important and have more value than school and academics.