What is your favorite passtime?

by Robert Danberg

The form asked, “What is your favorite past time?”
So I wrote how I loved the 1947 Technicolor American comedy classic
Life with Father.
Whereas home to me as a kid felt like the morning after a trip to the emergency room,
William Powell’s brood lived on the brink of a joy omnipresent
in the wealthy brownstones of Gay Nineties New York,
and in Meet Me in St. Louis, which opens
on Mary Astor and Marjorie Main making ketchup,
Judy Garland’s face in repose always seemed baffled by love.
And who knew ketchup could be made?

Then, I peeked and saw my neighbor’d written “tennis.”
The guy on the other side, “tailgating.”
I noted that the question before was favorite color,
the one after, what would you do with an unexpected day off.
(Blue, by the way. And, of course, watch whatever’s on Turner Classic Movies.)

Suddenly, I was tired.
I longed for the time before I was ever asked this question.
I crossed out my answer and drew an arrow to the bottom where I wrote
“When I was twenty and my body was a blossom
trembling to shake itself from the vine.”

Robert Danberg’s poems have appeared in Ploughshares, The Sun, The Cortland Review, and other journals. His book of creative nonfiction, Teaching Writing While Standing on One Foot, was published by Sense Publishers in 2015. He lives with his two children in Ithaca, NY, and he teaches academic writing at Binghamton University.

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