The House on Bar Street
It was Summer at the house on Bar Street, and
at five or six I was just learning about heat.
My mother had given my brother and I some relief,
a few slices of watermelon each to eat.
They were so juicy we had to eat them outside,
our shirts and cares joyfully behind were thrust.
We sat there on the front porch, spitting black seeds
across the sidewalk and into the street dust
A competition to see who could offend the furthest.
Next door was a torn down old home whose debris
Was our next target, an exploration of nails and dirt.
Mom’s nightmare, or an imagination spree.
We ate until our little bellies bulged with sweetness,
Juice dribbled down them. Down the street two old men
Wearing VFW hats walked along the sidewalk,
Ghosts of cheap beer and smoke wafted after them
As they walked past our glistening pile of offenses,
they looked at us, their wrinkled heads shaking on posts.
I couldn’t hear what they said after they passed,
But their laughter echoed after them, like sheeted ghosts.
It wasn’t until much later that I knew why those men were laughing.
Their sheets remained long after they became bitter specters.
It was often like this in town for my brother and I,
Anywhere we walked, we often became each others protectors.
But on our porch, in our home, we were safe.
Besides the watermelon was still so sweet.
My brother and I just kept on eating the juicy slices,
Two brown berries enjoying a summer treat.