The Parade Thief

Photo: Creative Commons

Photo: Creative Commons

 

~

booms and sirens

calling a sleepy town to rise

the children are already awake

everyone else doesn’t mind the alarm

~

the parade is today

the sun rises brighter

the wind blows lighter, warmer

because summer stops to rest

~

the boy moves with an excitement

his parents wish he had for school

peeking through the screen door at other kids

popping with guns and snaps and caps

~

he fears he’ll miss the parade

having to wait for everyone else

but rather than upset the morning plan

he paces quietly on the porch steps

~

watching the oblivious

a cautious squirrel ascending a tree trunk

a robin bobbing in the grass

a busy anthill on a sidewalk crack

~

after breakfast his father moves in the garage

his worried mother prepares her tote

bikes, sandwiches, blankets, ready

for the pilgrimage

~

the boy listens for the go

among early blow horns

early firecrackers

early hissing of sparklers

~

children, parents, grandparents

they fill the sidewalks

cars funnel down to the lakefront

no one rushes today except the children

~

fathers and mothers reminisce

they’ve safely been there before

staking out a good curbside view

of recycled images of youth

~

grandparents settle into lawn chairs

they too have been there before

many times more

having lost count of their good fortunes

~

as the fire engines approach

the boy imagines his future

mother and father observe their present

grandparents preserve their past

~

as the parade thief displays its subjects:

marching band, drill team, rotary float,

politician, veteran, sauerkraut queen,

it seduces the boy

~

when the ritual is complete

and the tide reverses into remembrances

in the streets along the lakefront

mothers search for lost children

~

while the parade thief steals the boy away

through summer

through the seasons

and beyond boyhood

~

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