I was there when…
my cousin Ron raced to the top 
of the old pine tree on papaw’s land
I really thought we were on top of the world. 

I was there when…
when my best friend Helen 
popped the clutch in her 1991 Cavelier,
skipped a gear and almost killed me 
stopping just before we skidded into a mailbox. 

I was there when, 
my grandfather would hang Christmas lights 
every year in Van Lear Junction until he couldn’t
the cancer done rattled too deep into his bones
“Mert is that you?”He asked me looking up at me 
as I’d helped to bring him back to life one last time.

I was there when,
my children took their first breaths,steps, achievements,
as we gathered around many a grave to say goodbye 
through laughter, tears, shouting, recipes of broken childhoods
sharing a fresh batch of oysters with our children in the ocean air
a road trip with no destination, unmarked territory and full tank of gas 
I was there when life was happening and thought no one was watching.