Nostalgia

Rough blacktop,

crowded, yells, loud

4 basketball courts, but 11 balls

some in the hoops, mostly out however

 

hitting big red balls

against the white walls

a mini-bang with each bounce

some too high, some too low

 

each miss – wall or hoop

would hit the 11-year-old girls

gossiping, standing

between the hoops and the walls

 

walking through the danger zone

an obstacle course,

Tips From a Survivor:

keep your hands

above your head

close your eyes

and run through

 

grass fields

playing soccer,

imaginary goals

fourth grade girls

painting tree trunks

with wet mud

 

if I focus,

I think I can remember

the games we would play

truth or dare

was always a favorite

 

grass in someone’s hoodie

waving outside the bathrooms

we would dare victims

then we would follow and giggle

 

how could 30 girls

in a herd

go unnoticed?

we were 9

we did not know

we had no grudges

cooties had abandoned us

when we blew out those 9

birthday candles

 

“gosh” instead of “god”

“heck” instead of “hell”

“darn” instead of “damn”

you know the drill

 

shunning was alien

shoving was unheard of

cyber-bullying?

we only used

the internet to draw.

 

our hands covered in

markers, ink, and

“This is Buggy”

not flirty nail polish

 

I still remember

the smell of the tanbark

the cold metal of the monkey bars

the feeling of home in a school

 

I miss

elementary school.

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