How does it feel to be forever young?
You never had to grow up, not at heart anyway;
no one existed to make you feel you didn’t deserve your youth.
You carry your childhood with you,
hold it in your elbows and your ears,
jig it out when elation fills you too full to hide.
I never felt my childhood; never let it happen, never kept it close.
My face has always been adult,
even behind the baby fat and bowl-cut of eleven.
You gave me what childhood you could,
those summers we went up to Maine,
those times you tried your own patience
with teaching me how to throw a Frisbee,
or love a card game the right way.
Gradually you showed my shoulders
how to relax when it came time to entertain ourselves
not with work, or school,
but with fresh air and
fresh grass and
You taught my face how not to frown with angst
over picking teams or missing the ball
when the racquet ripped through air without contact, just a whoosh.
One bright blue night on the island in August
we played with the little ones like we were never taller than ten,
like we had never cared about falling down,
like we were wild things too.
We watched our breaths take flight like bird ghosts in the chilly air,
hushed each other with hoarse whispers,
a rush from the indulgent curfew.
We ran from hideout to safe zone,
tore through trees swathed in Spanish moss,
tripped down the rutted paths,
loosing brief avalanches in our rowdy and feral wake.
Tiny hard bodies surged around us,
Thrilled with their cleverness,
Convinced of our superior stealth
As we crouched under decks and amongst wild blueberries,
Waiting for the other team to sense us
Hiding from bedtime, hiding from parents,
Hoping to live like we always never had to worry.