In July, the metal swing set scorched our skin.
Still, we climbed each end to sing the newest song—
I Wanna Hold Your Hand—to each other,
the hollow steel tubes our only mic.
Four girlfriends, in cotton shorts, scabby knees,
Audrey, Patti, Marianne, me—
“The Glamour Girls”. We put on plays
under an olive Army tent
draped on a clothesline—bullet holes let in light.
That war just another story
uncles told over beers.
The Jersey heat melted tarred driveways—
we poked bubbles, burnt our fingers.
So very little to poke at.
With no context, the subdivision—as young as we were—
caused no regrets, no yearning.
What did we know of gnarled oaks’ canopies,
of mellow, handsome homes?
Raw pine fenceposts spaced wide enough
to scoot through, visit each others’ yards.
Forbidden the streets, still we once went far enough
to be lost, happily playing under a porch
while the whole neighborhood searched.
It was a four-street box that could have been anywhere.
Sometimes, I long for such a narrow frame,
the wide world ignoring me,
my ambitions stretched only as far as
the Jersey shore.
Catherine McGuire is a writer and artist with a deep concern for our planet’s future. She has five decades of published poetry, four poetry chapbooks, a full-length poetry book, Elegy for the 21st Century (FutureCycle Press), a SF novel, Lifeline, and book of short stories, The Dream Hunt and Other Tales (Founders House Publishing). She lives in Sweet Home, Oregon on a mini-homestead, with chickens, a garden/orchard and bees. Find her at www.cathymcguire.com.