Hard to Come By
Sticky heat, no different than last September,
but now summer's flowers have fallen from me.
I move slowly in the early sun, through the fence,
torn and sharp as a coon's bite, to the school track.
The lanes are cinder, the shade of uncooked oatmeal,
salt dry and marked with orange numbers, one through eight.
In the curve, there are two boys motionless, wordless
between the hurdles, quarantined in distant childhood.
My last lap, and the morning moon seeps away
in rootless dispersion like chords of guitar.
The boys arrange the hurdles, odd joints of white bone
collaging on the football field. I stop and stammer
"I won't tell anybody about the torn fence."
One boy makes a tight fist, and steps out at me,
black hair spiked, his little finger extended.
Grass clippings stick like green measles on his skin.
Awkward among my settled dreams, I approach,
reach with my pinkie and brush his finger tip.
Satisfied, the other boy raises his hand, flat palm
outward and shoulder high like an Apache chief.
In stunned and splendid hiatus, the crusted dust
and sweat along my cheeks is broken by a grin.