July 2005 / Volume Six / Issue Four
Ronan Barbour
Bracher School Playground After Midnight

it is quiet now
most of the urban world asleep
beneath the purple sky
guarded by a lazy half-moon
leaning back
grinning up the magic gardens of light
but there are noises:

the long constant howl

the sweet throbbing chant
of crickets
nocturnal birds chirping
            like laughing blue eyes
sprinklers jabbing water
spiraling, doing
            their rounds on
            the grass
I see them now
standing in the dark field
like ghosts
I think of the spirits of childhood
as tetherball poles stand
silent without balls
awaiting their long lost
boys and girls
decapitated of purpose

black palm trees outlined in the dark
I stare down from my perch
at the tanbark below
basking in orange light
the imprints of so many feet
coming and going are buried there
in shadow puddles
I look up
and the gingerbread hills
I know from the day are lost to the smog…                                                                            
and then suddenly it’s the human voice
tearing into the air
with a drunken “WHOO-HOO ALLRIGHT YEAH!”
along with farting engine and squealing tires
passing through a street nearby
and then there’s

the long constant howl

it follows me home
all the way
to the front door
where I shut it
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