|Close my bittersweet eyes|
When raspberries begin to appear
on the decaying fence in the alley,
and the elms bloom into green-golden canopies
that tower over our street,
I find myself skipping barefoot over the warm asphalt-
my blonde hair short again; my cheeks strawberry red.
I’d love to pick the juicy, ripe tomato
that’s growing in our vegetable garden,
and serve it to the backyard fairies
on little china plates. I’d love to build
a castle of sidewalk chalk,
and stoop over my stiff piano keys,
pounding my little heart out (through open windows)
into those soft summer breezes.
I’d give it up to the tire swing
and the creaking tree in your backyard;
to Indian spices and sequined clothing;
to a thousand ghosts in the graveyard.
Back then, nothing had to make sense.
Simply laughing together, while those sweet mango juices
dripped down our chins in a sticky cascade
Do you remember, you and I,
climbing rugged trees in bare feet, and
laying on dirty rooftops to watch
midsummer night stars?
I’ll perch on the old wooden fence
and unscrew the jelly jar, letting
our lightning bugs fly away into the darkness.
I’d love to scamper around the park with you,
find all those fireflies, catch them in our bare palms,
and put them back.
But when I stumble up to your doorstep,
you’ve forgotten to leave the front porch light on
I’m staring at these old photographs in disbelief-
was it not yesterday
that we held each others’ immature hands,
whispering below the misty glow of streetlights?
Back when nostalgia didn’t radiate from
your bedroom window,
seeping into mine
two houses away.
Back when the scar of our friendship
was a mere ripe cut-
Two houses away has never seemed so far.
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