Once, the Streets
In my forgotten summer world,
the asphalt bubbles and roils like a black sea
under gray suburban sun.
Our bi-wheeled clippers cut wake in tar
in pumping fury to the supermarket armada.
There, riches wait neatly on the shelves,
naked, begging to be plundered.
The squeal of hand-brakes herald our boarding.
The doors, battered once,
give way to our assault.
Our bare feet, slapping on the produce-cool tile,
hush-hush to tip-toe steps for the raid.
Packs of gum, nickel candy.
a squirt gun, pens —
we pour the gold of our secret holds
into pants pockets, into shirts
rolled tight and held close.
At the checkout, eight pink faces
buy a single candy bar
not a smile broken to betray us.
Victorious, our sails unfurl to carry us
to the schoolyard shade tree.
We divide the loot in the grass, now friendly
and ours until the season.
We share the spoils among wicked laughter
and new plots.
We hearken to the song of the magazine rack sirens,
calling us to greater glory.
These were my jolly roger days,
when once, the streets
were the oceans of myth.
The goddesses of our pedal Odyssey
guided our ships through the straits
between Yesterday and Tomorrow.
Every street corner was an America,
or vacant field of honor,
where glorious wars were fought and won
in the long afternoons of summer.