By Dallas Brown
I remember back in the day when we’d run around your back yard with stuffed animals and sticks,
And we were all convinced that we were knights or Jedi or Power Rangers or something.
I remember the smell of sweat
And grassy, earthen paste rubbed up just below the knee-caps with that Wisconsin summer
All twisted together in our respective nose-holes,
Framing that Kodak moment I keep on my desk in the charred maple frame.
Stowed somewhere too, in the back of my brain.
I get a sort of peace
When I drift off to the pulled weeds and lawn clippings,
The picket fences, and the four-square (though I’d always lose),
The swimming, etc.
Eventually, we’d go inside and play some archaic version of Madden on your brother’s N64;
That or old-school Super Smash Bros.
Which was somehow cool at the time;
You were always better than I.
I look back and those were surely the glory days,
When we didn’t care,
And we had that cute innocence and imagination and that now-elusive sense of satisfaction
To justify whatever fantasy we had contrived for those sacred hours of shelter
While my mom hustled her two-buck job bussing tables
And dad—who knows?
I’ll remember you that way-
With your purple jeans and your cartwheels and the hours and hours of Pokémon,
And your bright, sharp smile—like the sheen off the handlebars of your dad’s Harley.
But I see you now and I see those convoluted eyes
And it makes me feel frightened
Because that blissful adolescence really didn’t mean much in the end and God knows
(Or whatever cosmic powers be at play)
Where we’re headed,
Where we’ll stumble,
And where we’re hurtling,
Hapless, helpless, and headlong, into that world-swallowing cavern,
That incontestable pillar of human deficiency,
L’âge adulte. Like the French say.