I was chased by a dog past the bleachers
I loved being chased
the dog never won.
I wore corduroy pants in rust and mittens.
Each according to the Sears catalogue.
I was a Brownie then
and my uniform might have also been from the Sears catalogue
Everything came from the Sears catalogue.
Any girl could be a Brownie
with a sash and handbook and Mom with a big green car. A badge of honor.
We played Brownie games outside in the leaves.
It was fall.
We made Christmas decorations from pine cones and acorns and ran Red Rover on the lawn of a church.
I was a one season Brownie and that was it
It seemed too easy to me.
I was a Brownie in an overcoat, gold tights and heavy shoes.
Fall opened the window on frozen and then the world sparkled frost.
The moon was your guide.
Stars became your friends.
Write it down.
Life was colder then and clearer.
The dogs ran through your backyard
they passed under that moon right by your swingset and the lawn chairs out beyond their season.
Dogs on the brink of some other neighborhood.
Hounds will hunt
We are all weekend hounds.
Teeth and fences, voices. Running.
Corduroy pants and mittens.
According to the Brownie handbook we should all live by the Girl Scout law.
After school snacks and leaves, pinecone crafts, a sash and a brown beret.
Anyone can do it.
We rose to fame on the back of a bird
the sun saved me.
and then the wind.
I was a baby when the hurricane came. My first hurricane.
My parents waited in line for water.
I have dreams about water.
and being lost.
I stood in my crib and cried.
Or so the story goes.
I want to tell you
All things being equal. Are not.
I want to carve a word of equality somewhere on my wrist
and on your shoulder.
The first thing people might see when they shake my hand.
When I shake your hand.
Or when you look over your shoulder.
My sunlight came as a match, a cigarette, a street light.
On the wrong side of the street.
I remind you
We traveled years to get here
and all things being equal are not.
The burden of time and those feathers will not sustain you
Or so the story goes.
In January one afternoon not many months ago I was followed down the street by a man I did not know.
I was walking my dogs and when I leaned over to adjust the harness for one of my dogs
I felt a hand between my legs.
Winter. Daylight. Outside. A stop sign.
My first thought was “this is my husband.”
“He has followed us and this is something only he can do.”
I turned and made a noise. It was not a noise I had heard from myself
Across the street was the man I did not know who had followed me. He waited for me to bend over and then.
He waited for me to turn around.
I yelled at this man I did not know.
My hands were full of gloves and leashes and dogs.
Otherwise I would have have chased this man I did not know down the street.
This man I did not know was not my husband. This man I did not know did not have permission to become part of my space.
I don’t need a reminder of this.
I have not forgotten.
I would like to remind
Our person in power is a man I do not know.
He is not my leader.
I will continue a linear script until he is gone from my horizon.
I remember driving with my Father to Dunkin’ Donuts on a sunny Saturday.
The sky was more blue then when you are 6
or maybe 7.
We picked out pairs of donuts.
Sprinkled, glazed, iced.
Our family of 5 would divide them shortly.
Around 11-ish. Weekend hours.
I remember it was an event. .25 each roughly.
With a glass of milk. And another one please.
Later it was American Bandstand. 11:30-12:00 or so.
East coast and
We had a babysitter
Maybe a handful of times.
Then, there would be 3 frozen dinners complete with green peas and carrots
and a chocolate brownie.
That 1 brownie makes up for nothing I wanted to tell someone.
The best thing about it was the idea.
Compartmentalized dinners in a silver tray with dessert on the same plane. In the same place. Waiting.
It was freedom.
It was Saturday night.
Mom was getting ready.
Then it was
The bathroom, the closet, and the rotary phone on the dresser
Like a regular lady.
Counting the hours.
It would be fine.
I once lived in a cul-de-sac.
There were pine trees at the end of our street which years ago gave way to some man’s idea of progress.
The woods were an endless city maze of straw and sandy dirt. Trails and fallen trees.
It was bike paths and shade. Kid deals and neighborhood. Baseball cards.
The safety of a circle.
On banana seats and handle bars
We would ride.
Bike gang circa 1975 singing songs from the radio.
On the edge was the 7-eleven.
I remember the day my father let go of the back of my training wheels-less bike. I looked over my right shoulder. Then I think I fell over.
I have broken one bone in my life.
Ring finger. Left hand.
I was riding a bike in New York. Where the World Trade Center should have been.
Empty space and bright lights.
I grabbed the wrong brake and everything else went wrong. And then wrong again.
I flew home with my hand in a congratulatory thank you cup of ice.
Surgery on your hand will sometimes involve drugs and discussing trips with your doctor you’ve never taken (but would like to take) to Italy.
And famous paintings.
And other places you would like to go but have never been.
And other famous paintings.
When I was a kid my father pulled our teeth.
Loose kid teeth. Barely hanging on.
He would take a handkerchief from his back pocket and in the blink of an eye.
Without warning. Eyes closed.
Probably my father closed his eyes too.
Dad has your tooth and later Mom will be Tooth Fairy.
Turning teeth into quarters at approximately 10:30 p.m.
That quarter will allow you baseball cards with flat pieces of gum or maybe a Slurpee.
Through the woods. On the other side.
When I was a kid you had to wait.
Your turn. Your time. Your holiday.
Waiting was part of the thing back then.
You waited in line with your lunch tray
or with your Barbie lunch box or for your seat
with your carton of milk.
You waited at the corner for the school bus in the cold.
Cold air looked like smoke
and with your breath you could pretend to smoke a cigarette like they did on tv.
You waited for Halloween and all the great holidays in between.
Holidays once involved one hour specials on tv that for a brief time you thought you might not ever see again.
Holidays were long seasons.
Waiting for that crescendo into schooless-ness. And beyond.
Easter eggs and tinsel.
On Saturdays you waited at the salon while your mother got her hair done.
Looking longingly at the Cheetos in the snack machine and wandering among hair magazines.
Swivel chairs with those hair dryers that fit over your head like an astronaut.
You wanted to fly to the moon.
Hair magazines are weird when you are not even a kid.
People smoked in salons back then. No waiting for that. Thank you.
Sometimes you waited in the car.
Or next to the car if it was July.
If the cereal box had a prize you waited on that. With your brother and maybe your sister.
You waited for hamburger night, Saturday mornings, the Olympics, and a new notebook in August.
Soda in the summer again on the side of the road
Patience while the garden hose filled the pool.
Waiting with popsicles or perhaps Kool aid.
Waiting sometimes involved kickball and the dentist and the bathroom if there were three of you. Brother and sister.
Waiting extended the days into a yawn.
And some days alternately into an argument.
The sunny other side of kid longing.
I am not sure if waiting exists for us now as it once existed then.
When all the seasons eventually appeared out of nowhere while raking leaves or running from fireworks.
According to the Sears catalogue.
Get in line they said
It’s around the corner.
At least that’s what they said.
Once maybe twice.
in the 3:30 a.m. sounds I opened my window to the coyotes.
they managed themselves in the backyard.
my side window.
i wanted to talk to them
about their crowded angst
their lack of a plan
their side of the story.
how it is the men are winning? and
is there enough room across the bridge and between the trees?
the middle of.
i valued their perspective
and their secret narratives
of a bad rap
with no plan.
we had pine trees at the end of my street
when i was a kid.
well worn paths and sandy trails, pinecones and parallels
to the 7 eleven and onward to the people.
we had no plan
but lets ride
past the trails and past the woods
where there were probably
wandering and winning.