Long days, short nights,
Seven PM squirt-gun fights.
Cops and Robbers and bare feet,
And our secret club for the kids on our street.
We chewed Hubba Bubba like it was filet mignon,
Because we knew how to savor things that were sweet.
How to run with chests heaving,
How to hide without squealing,
How to share secret glances,
And play during the week.
We swerved on our bikes,
And what we called hikes
Were skipping next door to our secret place of meeting.
We wanted so badly to be all grown up,
But when we woke up,
Our youth was already fleeting.
We’d stopped squeezing between fences
To call special nicknames,
Stopped dialing landlines
Or waving across the street.
It’d been such a while.
I’d almost forgotten
A breeze unseen wafts in through the window screen,
Reminiscent of lemons and dirt and rosemary spires.
Startled by the well of longing rising within me.
To be there,
On the other side of the screen,
Crouched in the flowers as I did as a girl,
Hair tangled in the brambles
Sunlight glinting off of my eyelids
Dirt rubbing into the soles of my feet.
Of the burden of doing
Of the burden of remembering
Knowing only how to
In the present.