You look for your friend on the playground bars,
in the wood chips, sliding down the slide.
It’s early. She’s nowhere. We return to your class line.
You set your backpack on the blacktop,
shrug your shoulders, look down.
I kiss the top of your head.
A girl you’ve known four years now
— not well, but known —
drops her backpack behind yours,
grins and dares you, “Chase me.”
Eyes glinting, she runs two steps away,
dips back, waiting. You run hard,
laughing, taunting in a playful singsong.
She taunts back, both of you giggling now,
running figure eights from one edge of the blacktop
to another, around corners, behind trees, on and on
until the first bell. In just – Spring.
Children scamper to the door.
“Do you want to say ‘bye’ here, or should I
wait with you in line?” You stop. You wave.
I nod. You smile. “Love you, Honey!” I call out
from ten steps away
and for the first time, I leave the school
before you’ve gone inside.
* * *
30 poems in 30 days.