We spent those stifling endless summer afternoons
on hot front porches, cutting paper dolls from Sears
catalogs, making up our own ideal families
complete with large appliances
and an all-occasion wardrobe with fold-down
Sometimes we left crayons on the cement
landing, just to watch them melt.
We followed the shade around the house.
Time was a jarful of pennies, too hot
to spend, stretching long and sticky,
a brick of Bonomo’s Turkish Taffy.
Tomorrow’d be more of the same,
ending with softball or kickball,
then hide and seek in the mosquitoey dark.
Fireflies, like connect-the-dots or find-the-hidden-
words, rose and glowed, winked on and off,
their cool fires coded signals
of longing and love
that we would one day
learn to speak.
from Rattle #16, Winter 2001
[ download audio]
Barbara Crooker: “I am a ‘real Fifties girl,’ as the little girl next door said when ‘Happy Days’ aired. I live in rural Northeastern Pennsylvania, where I garden with no help from the deer, groundhogs, and rabbits who think it’s their produce section.” ( website)