We were like an army of ants
Coming out, lining up
One at a time.
A great multitude of feet that summer.
The sweet, dank smell
Deftly down the stairs,
Beguiled from the prevailing customs of our early schooling.
Abandoning our trainings in responsibility.
Lessons in respectability,
Blackboard executions in logic.
Single mindedly tunneling down the narrow, pine treads
Towards the single, bare-bulbed light,
Dingy and yellow, barely illuminating
The far reaching jungled corners, dark and mysterious.
Cold, damp, grey concrete puddled in places with sweat.
Dirty little feet scurrying
At last amidst soft, slumping, cardboard boxes sloppily stacked.
One spilling a collection of old dishes.
An abandoned football helmet, a broken bike on it’s side,
Rusted paint cans.
A boy, climbing into a red, metal fire-engine,
Pulling a frayed cord, ringing a bell,
Peddling off freely, around
Islands of dirty laundry.
A wild girl
Monkey-riding three wheels round and round
The steel posts that held
The burden of the civil world safely above us.
The boy says,
“I’ll be the fireman.”
A girl finding an old bassinett
Is diapering a doll, calls easily, “I’ll be the mom.”
There is dissension from another
Comfortable at a child-sized stove and cupboard.
An agreement is made.
Our manner is organized. Our maneuvers tactical.
Covertly discovering our own truth,
So that later, little did we know
That pretending to be, then,
Was simply the beginning of remembering who we are now.
That I would I say, “I’ll be the one who does this.”
And you would say, “I’ll be the one who does that.”
And he would say, “Then, I’ll do this,”
And she would say “Then, I’ll do that.”
And we would live happily ever-after,
Packing boxes around islands of laundry,
Putting out fires between diapering and bedding babies,
Fixing bikes and collecting cans of old paint,
Calling out from the kitchen, “Dinner’s Ready!”