Summer of ’69*

(Previously published in Eclectic Flash, Vol. 2, Sept. 2010)

The circle where we played,
a rabble of bare-footers browned
like August lawns, was ringed
by ranch houses and split-levels.

Some days I rode my red bike
alone to the new neighborhood
to climb dirt-pile mountains
and hide in the cool of the culvert.

By night I lay on the bed
tossing a ball toward
the plastered ceiling textured
like the surface of the moon.

That was the summer I learned
to lie still by the drain
at the bottom of the pool
and look up at the sun.

The trick was to go limp,
watch the exhaled breaths bubble
into scattered light and listen
to the ticking in my ears

that felt like the pressure
of the deep but could have been
the weight of seconds passing,
precious and ordinary, and yet,

curiously, I was light
in the way alone is not lonely
when you’re under the porch
in a storm, smelling rain.

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Published by

Ray Sharp

Father, poet, triathlete, local public health planner

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