Picking fat, green peapods
from the vines growing at the edge of the garden.
Sitting on the porch swing in the breezeway
with my mom and my cat.
Shelling peas from their pods,
scooping them into a stainless steel mixing bowl.
Listening to them ping as they fell,
Childhood summers were so simple.
Riding our bikes together in packs,
all around the neighborhood.
Everyone was your friend--it was as easy as that.
Endless games of wiffle ball in the empty field.
Me, playing second base--never caught a one.
Charlie liked being the pitcher.
His sister, the youngest, always first up to bat.
We played hide and seek behind the lilac bushes.
Mary Aileen really knew how to run!
She'd make it home from anywhere
in fifteen seconds flat.
We kept busy with jump rope, freeze tag, and hot potato,
or tossed pebbles into the creek near the train tracks
and counted box cars from the bridge where we sat.
Those times and places are long gone now.
Many of the people are gone too.
It's no longer possible for any of us
to make it home in fifteen seconds flat,
but if I close my eyes and drift a bit,
I 'm there again jumping rope and hiding in the lilacs.
Everyone is a friend.
I just close my eyes--it's as easy as that.