It Was Sort-of Like This
by Jane Lang

Karma has leaked like xenon, the inert gas used in neon
lights on Burnett street in Renton when I was young. Often
the view from the window was repetitious: a sunny afternoon
or one dark with rain clouds which threatened a visit only a
six-year-old can conjure in the unique way of children.

In our neighborhood Mr. Tuttle had a grass slope
we rolled down, twitter of birds in his weeping
willow tree, Mrs. Gaynor, on the other side of the
driveway was old. Sometimes she would feed us
chocolate chip cookies from a Sunbeam cookie bag.

My friends, Sharon, Judy and Butch lived at the end of
the block and we could yell loud enough, run quick
enough to make ourselves heard so no telephone was
needed. Nobody's mom got mad and even they
sometimes yelled for us at bath time.

Lazy, calm summer days, the list inside an envelope
for Mrs. Gissespie at the grocery store on the corner
by Mary Ellen Conn's house where you make a quick
left turn, a triple J jack rabbit jump and you were there!

Mrs. Gissespie wore black horned-rim glasses, her lips
were fire engine red and her son, Phillip, had an old
GMC panel truck for deliveries and sometimes all of
us kids would pile in the back, head for the zoo and
on towards the slow, sweet death of childhood.


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