go baby go

go, baby, go!

run into the thick of it,

through the blackberry bushes and poison ivy,

through the sunshine and busted-sprinkler spray,

trip along the uneven, patchy grass,

then trip and bleed and run again.

fill up on memories made of homemade bows and arrows, of stick guns and spears,

of tag you’re it and running so fast you think maybe you might take off,

of slingshot welts and screams.

feel the sting of sweat in your eyes

and the sting of friends who move away too soon.

go, baby, go!

there is no subtlety in a melting ice cream dinosaur.

there are no plot points in a late summer day.

get lost in the spinning whirlwind wonderment, kiddo,

of dog bites and sweet tarts,

of hot sidewalks covered with

chalk drawings of helicopters, elephants, and jet cars,

of finally getting jokes,

of laughing without caring.

know that i celebrate as i curse

when you smack me on the ear

and bite me with a peanut-buttery mouth.

go, baby, go!

grab with each hand the live wire of being outside,

these days were not made for the envelopment of a mother’s arms,

not until the twigs have been broken,

the ants have been stomped,

the caterpillars bottled,

and the bad guys all shot dead.

not until the creek has soaked up past your knees,

the crayfish have pinched the webbing of your fingers,

and the evening wind bites through your stained and ripped shirt.

not until the day has grown hued with pink and orange,

and streaks of purple creep under the clouds.

go, baby, go!

carve out a ravine in the rocky mud

and call it home.

claim it with a flag made from a twig and a faded piece of a cereal box.

we claim this land in the name of off-brand frosted flakes,

in the name of not being able to count so good yet,

in the name of losing our pocket money and beautiful black-eye shiners,

in the name of distressed mothers yelling names from front porches,

in the name of amber street lamps coming on before they should,

in the name of who cares, who knows, and who wants to play another game.

go, baby, go and know

that i will follow.

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