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Contributor: J.K. Durick

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Summers were endless back then, or seemed to be,
But we lived in a neighborhood filled with kids our age,
Older, younger, we didn’t distinguish by age so much;
The games we played could run a dozen deep and go
On for hours, whiffle ball, hide and seek, kick the can,
Spud, the list wasn’t that long but kept us going, kept
Us busy, kept us in a state of not quite innocence; we
Could be thieves, we could be bullies, we were learning
To balance our knowing and our doing, what we could
Get away with and what would catch up with us; life
Was like those long summer days, empty till we filled
It with noise and games, so many wanting to play and
So many wanting to be heard, rules had to be simple,
Sides had to be clear, disputes never ended a game,
Just became part of it, some pushing, some shoving,
Then on with it, there was too much time to fill and
The shades of meaning, of winning and losing were not
Essential to what we were doing, we were children and
Understood we were in training for more serious things,
Adult things we watched out of the corner of our eyes,
Things we sometimes played at, imitated, but we knew
Our games weren’t for keeps like the adults’ were,
We went home tired but happy, knowing tomorrow
Our place would still be there, our friends still waiting.

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J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, Black Mirror, Third Wednesday, Thrush Poetry Journal, and Rainbow Journal.


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