Slip! Swish! Slither! Zap! Zip!
Across the room and down the wall
we run, all smiles and sunshine,
soap at our heels
and monsters in the bed.
Nobody cares in a topsy-turvy world
where the lesson of the day
is staring at the sun with wide eyes
before we skedaddle to have tea
with Mr. Ladybug in the backyard.

Swish! Slither! Zap! Zip!
Nights spent under cover of sugar plums
and nutcracker skirmishes.
There’s not a limb I would donate
to your dreamtime cause,
but that doesn’t translate into dislike.
Why, when the hummingbird buzz
mingles with the sizzling scent of charred rubber,
I’ll dare to say, “I love you!”
and you’ll know it to be so.

Slither! Zap! Zip!
Holly–holy–happy days
full of spare time and empty space
where we might dilly-dally
for a moment or two,
or ten, or twenty! Certainly not so few
as to give us time to catch our breath
when–truly!–it’s our little lungs we’ve lost.

Zap! Zip!
To cause a storm, all firecracker
and lightning bugs, is a childish memory
that is better off checkered and uncharted.
Our playtime courses are coming to an end
and the insects crawl out from beneath the glass.
Where, then, is the darkening of the days
when you knew him and he knew me and I knew you–[not]?

Crag-eyed bells and silver shells
scattered as they shattered in the shadow of the shallow
behind the foyer where the river
carried farther the names of our fathers
to a land of bubbles and disasters
that never caught us; running faster
than the wind that pushes onward
across the earth, from grass to sand,
tree to cactus, needle to thumb–
away we speed, tender hearts
and butterfly kisses
into adulthood’s Great Unknown.