somewhere in between

by Josh Yarden

there's that little boy

trekking to school

black galoshes and a yellow raincoat

stomping in puddles

imagining

he's an explorer

on a short cut

to an adventure

through the woods

down the hill into the trees

crossing the creek

one might meet Lewis and Clark

stop to catch a crayfish

a salamander

or hide out in the forrest

since we were probably going to be invaded by communists

we were taught to hide under our desks, playing war like a game

like kickball next to the dump across from Alan's house

or softball up at the corner next to Sandy's

or rough touch football in Jack's backyard

or base tag hiding behind a tree at dusk while Becca counted

that tall tree grew up with me

I used to climb to a high perch above it all

when there was no game in the street

Kate and I were going to walk to school together in September

I can still see her walking down the street

translucent memory of that endless summer

Don went to juvie for a year

or was it two

after he shot his father's gun

it was a party prank

they said Kate died instantly

never knew what happened

I doubted that

every day

as I walked to school alone

Don never really showed his face much after he came home

then one day he joined the game up at the corner

where the manhole cover was pitcher's mound

I hit a line drive

Nick turned away and ducked

somehow caught the ball behind his back, stole my home run

then Kate's mom came walking down the street

pushing her dad in his wheelchair

“You're the one,” she scowled at Don

“… who should be dead.”

around 15 kids in the street

didn't know where to hide our heads

rumor had it…

Sandy had an abortion

which is how I learned that word

Sam said Gary was a faggot

so he set his house on fire

the whole world seemed to be going mad

Billie told Gloria to shut up

or maybe that was a different day

or maybe that was everyday

somewhere between hearing

‘I have a dream' and

‘I am not a crook'

walking down my old street

no game up at the corner

not one kid on a bike

I was gonna show my son my initials carved high in that tree

only a circle of wood chips marks the spot

someone buried my childhood

life was so simple

in black galoshes

and a yellow raincoat

out for an adventure

searching for crayfish

a passage in the woods

most of the forrest is gone now

the shooting remains

and the imagination of a child

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