"A Perfect Summer Day":

We took sunshine showers during the summers in my neighborhood,

skipping and jumping, twirling round and round until we dropped

and hugged ourselves

getting lost in all that laughter and day-tripping

feeling lucky to be alive in a place where everyone knew our names.

The Ice Cream Man peddled his product from a bicycle

with a freezer in the front.

We bought popsicles to cool us down if we had the nickles,

sucking and savoring until the drops of colored sugar ran down between our fingers

mingling with the dirt there, and we licked that too.

The Rag Man pushed his cart slowly through the streets

calling for scraps of cloth.

And though we mocked him secretly, he was a major player,

an entrepreneur known by our parents.

They waved and called him by name as they stood behind the screen door

or worked from the clothes line.

Old Mrs. Robinson stood spying behind her curtains,

ready to check us when we ran through her yard or dared to climb her tree.

But she quickly forgave us and sometimes offered cookies and ice water

and stories of herself as a young woman. She was still in love with her husband

who had passed.

We ran errands for her and shared our precious moments

when her loneliness slowed us down every now and then.

We chased grasshoppers as a ritual, stacked them in jars

and punched holes in the lids so they could live

til we placed them in garbage cans and fried them.

The tobacco juice they left amazed us.

(At night, lightening bugs supplied homemade rings on our fingers

full of dust now and ready for a bath.)

We sold popcorn and kool-aid for pennies

played hand games, Red Rover, kick ball, baseball

and hide and go seek.

We practiced the the latest dance steps as we sang the latest songs.

And we took sunshine showers all day,

beneath the familiar eyes of our sky surrounded by love

in a place where everyone knew our names.


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