Those summer nights of hide and seek where we were willing quarry,
our efforts to make curfew were too often dilatory.
Our neighborhood adventures stretched out under the stars—
those shadowed venturings abroad, hiding behind cars,
in barrow pits or hedges, darting through the dark,
avoiding passing car lights and the dog’s insistent bark.
Bigger kids the kingpins of this nightly sequestering,
lying still as death with our fears of capture festering.
That titillating strain of remaining undetected,
somehow in our memories has made us more connected.
How we so consistently lay spread out on the ground
cowering, but secretly hoping to be found
by that special someone who, in our pre-teen flush
even then, in passing, could bring about our blush.
All this search and parrying that we called summer games
very soon would fill our lives called by other names.
Sometimes, on an Indian blanket spread on the night-dewed grass, I became aware of them.
They were always there waiting in the ever-clear South Dakota nights.
Anything could have happened on a night like that,
Reclining with no ceiling over us,
Silence split by crickets, frogs, the chipped barks of dogs.
Summertime freed us to the great outdoors.
Traitors to our beds, we chose the long-grass cushioned backyard.
Attacks by neighborhood boys an exciting possibility,
Rescues by my bellowing dad, in jockey shorts, standing on the back porch.
Sleep not on our agenda for hours afterwards.
Slumber parties meant for anything but slumber.
Taking a walk at midnight and crossing the path of no one.
Air in the night a different elixir
Returning to roll in the grass in shortie pajamas—that pre-sexual thrill.
Stars of our own summer, we strutted our stage until the wee hours.
Something in the night freeing something in us.
Taken by the stars to other selves, far above us.
Aware of the mysteries laid out like a path in front of us.
Returning reluctantly to our pre-teen lives,
Safe beneath the dangerous stars.
The WordPress prompt today was to write about texting, but Since I have never texted anyone in my life, thought I’d tell you what life was like in a pre-text world. And here’s a picture to go with both the subject of texting (old-time style) and the above poem: