Letting Go

spilled across scorched blacktop,
jump rope playground-sweepers keep time:
an early-September metronome.
I watch from my lamppost roost,
eyes low,
hands sticky
with childhood wonder,
head drooping into a book
to conceal the flush of longing.

These are our brief intermissions in monotony:
locked and loaded melodramatics,
playground politics,
telenovela conversations and
impromptu psychiatry.

This we relish; here we live
our futures in miniature.
Here we rehearse
for walk-on roles in network dramas.
Tetherball cords tangle,
hair braided around the edge of the ring
as the fiercest of gladiators egg each other on.

We’ve shaded our
crayon drawings since then,
buried our playground receipts
in Crayola crypts.
We dislodge each shard of mulch
indented into scabbed knees-
curtain closed on dress rehearsal.
Baby tooth lockets crack open at hinges,
good luck incantations sealed
at enamel roots with tiny knuckle kisses.


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