leaving home


that summer, the park ached

with the screams and yips

of kids and dogs loosed

upon it


it was green then,

pool full, moms with sunglasses

kids with flippers and sea monster floats


people burned weenies, took in a breeze,

smiled at each other

with beer foam moustaches


in the houses, mamas sang in kitchens.

bread steam, meat-and-potato sear

floated over the baseball diamond

crawling with those spidery little guys

on St. Helena’s B-Team

flooring St. John Francis Regis again


porches creaked, smoldered with cigars

a hundred dogs on every block

raised the living and the dead

at each out-of-sync clock chime


anyone who had any money

bought grape pop in a bottle

a pack of luckies, or a snort of whiskey


and life was as good

as it was ever going to get

that summer, in the park,

in the pool, we watched

young mamas and older sisters

cross and uncross their legs,

snap their swimsuit tops

and pull the elastic out from behind

with index fingers


it was before life became knotty,

before the girls got pregnant,

and things went bad with cops

parents, brothers and sisters


and we all got the hell out


that summer was as good

as it was ever going to get

but we couldn’t trace the lines

through the waves in the water,

or see our reflections in the sunglasses

Published by

Patrick Dobson

Patrick Dobson was founded in 1962. He is a writer, scholar, ironworker, and poet who lives in Kansas City, MO. He is author of two books with the University of Nebraska Press, Seldom Seen: A Journey into the Great Plains (2009) and Canoeing the Great Plains: A Missouri River Summer (May 2015). Dobson is a work in progress until termination.

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