There was a week in summer when we all walked down the street together.
The moon was a slice, and the sun was saluting us goodnight on the lake,
We stood on the dock, shifting.
We inhaled the brine of rust and nails, rickety and coming unhinged,
Our reflections were orange and gold,
They winked at us like oil paintings forgotten within museums walls.
On the gravel—we walked,
Beside the road—the smell of tar, perfume of my childhood.
We avoided German Shepherds with our careful steps,
We feared their reputation, and we played at Pocahontas.
When we sat in Mr. Jones’ yard, his third wife sat with us, as did the neighbors and our parents,
They gave us lemonade in Tupperware cups pitted by the dishwasher,
We drank, and watched the moonflowers each night,
They popped out at us, as if calling us home to summer.
We bathed in late nights and cool ice cubes and Mr. and Mrs. Jones’ chairs—a mismatch of stripes and folding aluminum that gave us unnatural illusions of height.
We had no cameras or phones,
We had no distractions but the sound of cicadas and the flash of lightning bugs,
We caught them in mason jars fitted with holes we’d fashioned in their lids,
Mother convinced us to free them.
In that summer, we found a beat to popcorn prayers, spoken in darkness, and laughter that rang into our most intimate memories.
And that was all it was to me then…
Mr. Jones wagged his finger as we climbed his chainlink borders and trampled on his garden.
We sucked the suck out of honeysuckle vines and rushed home at twilight, scratching our ankles, bitten by mosquitoes.
We tossed our Christmas bikes into the yard and waited for the sun again,
We watched the moonflowers at night,
We surfed the constellations in our dreams.
Author: Monica Stevens-Kirby
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Flickr/John Fowler