A Mosquito And A Half Ago

The asphalt could’ve fried an egg
They said
That summer before eighth grade
Your sneakers hit the tar
Ba bump ba bump ba bump
To the sound of my beating heart

My Keds were stained with the mud
Of my forsaken youth
We shed our kid sisters
Among the flowers behind the bungalow

I was the big city girl
You were the idiot next door
You knew the Milky Way like the back of your hand
I was lost without my metropolitan lights

But you showed me the twists and the turns of the dunes
As the sun faded away
You held my hand as we wandered
Far away from the bonfire
And our kid sisters’ and parents’ songs

You traced the big dipper, orion, draco in the freckles on my arm
I saw my Empire State lights in your
Clear, bright, blue eyes
As I spun you tales of Broadway shows
Of midnight looking like noon on 42nd street
My arms stretched around your skinny neck
Yours around my barely concave waist

Romance is for July nights
Just beyond campfire songs
Romance is for fireflies and mosquitoes buzzing in our ears
Romance is for hot asphalt
Keds stained with mud
And sand forevermore in our shoes
And promises to come back
And meet up when we’ve really grown

Now candles light up December nights.
Bitter darkness replaces the rosy sunsets on the dunes.
And my Keds broke in long ago October.
I’m lost among my city lights.
Manhattan boys don’t have your clear, bright, blue eyes.
I forgot to tell you I loved you those far away nights on the dunes

The asphalt could’ve fried an egg
They said
That summer before eighth grade
Our kid sisters are big girls now
You must be taller than your dad
Your sneakers hit the tar
Ba bump ba bump ba bump
I never forgot the sand in my Keds as we climbed
Or the hum of cicadas
To the sound of my beating heart

Abigail Drach, Age 14, Grade 9, Hunter College High School, Silver Key

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