street

We never check the weather.

A sudden shower, though inexplicable, 
was just one 
of many wonders-

like finding a dollar bill.
Or hearing a payphone ring.

No matter 
the morning chatter 
about rain coats and umbrellas,
dark clouds and thunderheads
are moot.

If anything, 
adult fascinations
are prompts
to get our
asses outside 
faster.

And even while
sunny moments shift
to syrupy downpours,
we understand
it all follows
into more 
tomorrows.

The terra firma pheromones, 
now loosened 
and unmoored,
summon notes of sunscreen 
and popsicles and pool chlorine;

a brief reminder that 
an unending summer 
can still be interrupted. 

Rising from a million trillion 
joyous bloom’s and
puddling up 
at curbsides,

in riverbeds and fields 
wild with eye height grasses,

the message 
telling kids to keep splashing 
up and down driveways 
stained with 
late summer sunsets 
and street chalk
is clear. 

And while adults roll up 
windows 
and shelter, 
we gallop through yards and 
dart between cars. 

Fences are tightropes. 
Trees, trapezes. 
Dinner warnings; 
heralds for 

one more round!

The protest 
always begins at dusk. 

No one wears a watch. 
The neighbourhood does it for us. 

I count down, 
as the sun slips and simmers
into Lake Ontario,

One 100, two 100, 
three 100, four 100, 
five 100.

Ready or not, here I come!

Then bounce into the street 
from the green box, 

a homemade homebase, 
halo’d in street lamp glow 
just enough for safety; 

shadow wrapped enough 
to allow a quick slip into 
the darkness. 

Any minute the front stoop 
phone chain will start. 

Mike lives the farthest, 
his dad’s vocal power 
is unmatched. 
His bass line 
fills 4 square blocks easily. 
It's frightening when he uses it 
inside the house. 

Lisa’s mom will just stand on the porch 
staring out into the night. 
She won't turn on the exterior, 
the mosquitoes 
are bad at dusk. 
Lisa catches hell every time, for each bite 
her mom suffers. 

Someone 
in Tony’s house 
semaphore flickers from the kitchen. 
Whatever the code, he runs home 
mid sentence 
just in time 
for all of the house lights to go off. 

My mom informs the neighbourhood,
 
Chris!! 
Time to come in for a bath!

I drag my ass. 
I wander down the block. 
Just far enough 
to say I didn’t hear you. 

Just far enough 
to get a believably desperate
running start 
back up the driveway. 

Just far enough 
to still show I care. 
Just far enough 
to test if they are there.

Just far enough 
to remind myself 
that we will not 
give up summer freedom 
without a fight.

One response to “street”

  1. Those last four stanzas! Yes. Fiercely hang on to childhood and the freedom of summers past.

    Love this piece and streets contain many stories ♥️

    Liked by 2 people

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