Glossary of a Childhood Revisited

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

by Amy Marques

Reverse magic is when the huge green park that was half woods, half prairie, becomes little more than a scattering of trees on a square the size of most suburban private yards. When the boulder that tripped your bike two days after your father removed training wheels shrinks into a crack on the sidewalk and the giant pine tree that once proudly collected the first snow of the season has a trunk the size of your thigh.

Nostalgia is when the once beautiful brick community center on the far end of the square with the first piano you ever played has open doors and an old lady with blue hair and a curved back smiles and says, “Hello, dear. Welcome.” And, in a corner, out of tune, the central C missing its plastic-ivory, and two strings curling out like frizzy white hairs, the piano still stands.

Shame is when you sit at the single picnic table beyond the parking lot, the one that spent midday summers covered with disappearing brown bags packed with twinkies and fruit rolls and white bread sandwiches with orange cheese and bologna and little cartons of chocolate milk and pamphlets that advertised safety and soap and how to clean your teeth, and you yearned, but you only took a bag once, because when you ran home, fruit roll dangling like a dog’s tongue out the window on the freeway, your father said we don’t take charity, that’s for other people, those people, not our people, and you wished you could unchew the sandwich and untake the bag, and now you wish you could tell your father that you’re other people, those people, and you sometimes miss being his people. 

Comfort is when a tall, tall tree with a nook that once wrapped around your legs and cradled your back—the one that listened to your daydreams and didn’t judge you when you cried—is still tall—and still waves its branches, leaves whispering there there, welcoming you back. 


Amy Marques is on a first name basis with fictional characters and has visual art & words published in multiple journals. More at


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