I know that town especially well,
the festering brook cluttered with rock,
where I split my lip on the jutting slate,
the brackish haunts where we fought
Shamanistic ghosts for lost Indian loot.
In muddied denim, we stalked the hills,
pockets weighted with forgotten fears,
and the world grew while we grew old.

I know that woodchip park well,
the molding sandpits puddled with rain,
where the dying trees dangled their hands,
the grassy nests of broken glass and ash
where we stomped-out a fairy ring.
On the warm bleachers we shared tales,
bared our unscarred skin to the new sun,
and the air grew warm while we grew old.

I know that street less well than I used to,
the square colonials and small green lots,
where we loosed your albino gerbil into the wild
so you could free something from your home.
The rotting Oak where we captured cankerworms
and climbed high to escape furious fathers.
For several summers we fed faeries honey,
and the years grew short while we grew old.

I do not know you like I once did,
when we were both young architects of life.
It has been nine slow years of ripped cuticles,
seasons of pollen-clogged windshields,
generations of cicadas entombed beneath lawns.
Once we ruled backyard worlds like queens,
but we were not as clean then as we thought,
and we both grew up while it all faded away.

Naomi Glassman lives and writes in New Jersey.

I wrote this for my first friend. I have not seen her in years, nor do I expect to ever see her again. It is about the two worlds that exist during childhood; the imagined realm of children, to which they can escape, and the reality they are trying to run from in the first place. As I have grown older without growing wiser, the boundary between these two worlds has become less obvious to me, and both worlds have become less innocent.



Copyright 2009