Paisley Green


when august opened up and leo season spilled out
we greeted it with gap-toothed grins and scabs on our knees
because that’s the kind of kids that we were –
        we barked at the sun and howled at the moon, we were coyote kids,
        we ate dirt and pond water and the blood off our knuckles
        and we lived,
        in the heat of those dog days
        and in the splinters of broken bones.
and really we were nothing but whelps, but oh how we bared our teeth,
        full of fervor and instant lemonade and the lawlessness of adolescence.
we reveled in the simpler things.
bare feet
and the pines
and the spokes on our bicycles,
the metallic echo of BBs on aluminum cans.
and at last when the hushed purple of evening perched on the ridge, we scuttled home, aching for the amber of afternoon,
        mud beneath our nails and rocks in our shoes,
        victory painted in bruises against sunkissed skin.
we were invincible and
        we were wild things.

my stomping grounds are still there,
but our summer shadows have filled with rain,
and the coyotes i ran with ran away.

this year, when leo season came, roaring,
        i cowered.