Before The Lights Come On

Vintage Words


Hide in the shadow of the rose bush and be found. That’s the game. Run for the goo faster than the counter who count by tens. You must and shall always count by tens. Ready or not let the fun come like Christmas.


We watched the sky get dark and hoped somebody somewhere forgot the lights. The best pole to play marbles by lay inside a cylinder of denial that the sun was gone. Fearless, we crouched under the favorite bulb, the one we did not understand.


We all knew to be home before the street lights came on, but we never moved at the first dim glow at the end of our day of orchards and sidewalks chalked in for ball or tennis shoes. At home-call, some answered, running afraid and aware they had stayed too long. The brave and stupid waited and talked about going inside and always why. The street was too dark and the lights were too bright. Sudden as lightening in a summer storm, through the smell of fresh cut grass and dandelions blooming, past the dance of lightening bugs and the chit chat of crickets, a voice knowing our name made good-byes fast and our feet faster.

Windows had their uses, especially on rainy nights. The glare from the lamp post dimmed brilliance to hazy yellow. The marble field flooded to mud and staying on the porch would be decreed and disobeyed. Puddles were for jumping in center, cardboard boxes, flat and saturated, hosted thirty snakes or fifty, good for slinging by the tails. Stolen berries were best served in wet clothing. Radio served waiting for the go to bed.

Lights out meant monsters, creaking doors, shadows moving in the room beyond, low or loud voices of joy or discord. The whir of a sewing machine, the hum of television, better than the coolness of wind stretched and dried flat-ironed sheets.





Author's Notes/Comments: 

from Womanchild Manchild (Original format) 

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