When you heard the jangle

of my particular key chain,
you kicked through playground
tan bark, jump-landed
on hot asphalt, your elbows
swinging, your hair curled wild
as you swung your head
side-to-side, your denim jacket
flying behind you like a magic cape.


No one ever came to me like that,
wanted me that much, pounding
into my arms, your dirt-soap-boy
smell, your clothes streaked
with paint, crayon, glue, your knees
rough and ashy from hours
of outside play.


You pressed your wet open mouth,
tangy with afternoon fruit snacks,
on my own, and I could understand
how monsters ate their young, gobbled
down all the goodness because
it was almost unbearable to watch
such amazing beauty in the world,
in my arms, your wet sand skin
on my shoulder, your black eyes
full of my reflection,
your sticky fingers in my hair, pulling me,
pulling me into the moment
so I'd know
it would end.


Appeared in the Rockhurst Review, 2001.