napowrimo day 19

by larapayne

latchkey kids

I once made a fireplace out of aluminum foil
curved its edges up, for safety. Tore paper
and lit it. Yellow to brown, then ash.
It was a nice fire, rather tame. The carpet
below came up with the foil,
long strings of black plastic and a smell.
We used to put on our roller skates
and ride in circles in our unfinished basement.
Spin around some pole
and throw ourselves away, at top speed.
In the many construction sites near our townhouse
we’d use 2×4’s to walk above
newly formed basements and rooms. We never fell.
Brambles grew in a field nearby, we made rooms
in the midst of them and dragged discarded lawn furniture,
called it our house. Sometimes meeting random adults along the way.
We always went trick or treating alone, and ate candy
on the way home. Then we played trade.
After watching Goonies, all the kids
in the neighborhood banded together, pulled up manhole covers,
walked tunnels that linked development to development.
Didn’t wonder what the wet was or from where it came.
My brother and I would sit in the backseat
and stay unbuckled. We’d pull up our feet and hold them
at the ankles and let the turns throw ourselves into
one another. The goal was to stay upright, even at fast speeds.
Our Dad would only yell if we laughed too loud.
We’d mix potions up with things from under the sink
and all the weird spices we inherited when Grandma died.
We’d take turns tasting them.
Countless hours at the very empty playground, with just one friend.
We’d take my friend’s mother’s pantyhose and pretend
to be robbers of kidnappers, covering our faces
in that brownish mesh.
Rode our bicycles along the main road.
3 miles to Arby’s. No helmets.
French fries and every condiment and pickle
in the condiment bar made for a cheap lunch.

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