Oct 182014
The Walkers' backyard was green as emeralds,
Each grassblade fire-lit in dawn-light,
The smell of summer come completely into our bodies
As we drank down the last of the Captain Crunch cereal,
Pure pearly milk sugar-laced, gravid with sweet.
A squeal of Keds against the flooring
And out the banging screendoor like milk-pod seeds
We floated to the line up, saluting, stiff-backed,
Our ankles uneven with socks' lax elastics.

Davy Walker paced up and down 
Before the at-attention boys,
Black curls close as secrets against his skull,
Oldest and always leader, 
Alertly at home in the winner's circle,
Calm as an ancient Greek at Salamis, as lucky--
Blue eyes tucked tight as dual pilot lights 
Above freckles, below a pale Tyrone Power brow.

We knew what was coming, once everybody was picked
And an opposing general assumed command 
At the Costigan's swing set:
Dirt bombs, forts under the picnic table,
Clear cricket cries of "I'm hit!"
Lobbing pine cones and counting ten, the grenade
Pin sticky and sharp between tense teeth;
The possessive assertion of "fire in the hole!" 
Laughter behind a maple tipping off an attempted ambush,
Choruses of "ka-pow" and "brrrbht!" machine-gunning
Across the fenced backyard filled with lines of kids,
Kids clean-limbed and pale, 
Bright shorts and dirty Adidases,
Knees scuffed with maneuvers among the leaves.

I hid beneath lilacs, wet leaves for a face,
A crooked dry cottonwood stick my fine rifle,
A spur of knot at the trigger.
The day hums bloodless blue;  above, a scythe 
Swings an electric-arc of sky.

Count to a hundred and then begin.

My mind is green
As marines, those two-inch plastic ones 
Molded hot in one go--
Stray flares finned leaflike along a seam,
Auras you could touch.  Auras I cut,
Trimming the small soldiers clean, shaving rifle and knife,
Cutting off weird ears of translucence 
With a Red Cross pocketknife, squinting
Into the miniature Hulk faces going "Hoo-ra!"

Still hiding,
I could feel myself going green
From fingertips to face,
Invisible but alive.

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