The hot Long Island sun pokes
fingers into sandy ground,
stirs dust in my young throat
as I kick high the swing, hit

bottom on the downward fly.
White jelly bread rolls around
my hungry tongue, washed
with purple kool-aid. I grow

where green grass won’t,
nourished on margarine, wonder
baked in bread, Saturday morning
cartoons, the buzz of test patterns

in my head. Father builds a shed
beneath the staircase, packs
in rakes and brooms, bikes
and wasps and whispered things

that hang from nail hooks shredded
like cardboard Halloween skeletons
that glow in the dark. Honey-
suckle with fuchsia hearts grows on

my best friend’s vines. We pluck
them to suck the sweetness free,
rub the juice into our skin, run
with green feet beneath sprinklers, 

later, sip ice tea, nibble toast
thick with butter, play with candy
beads and lipstick, then practice-
kiss our arms, grape and tangerine.

No. 8 2019