and every child moves to the side--
that is the rule
of playing in the street.
these kids part in the middle,
two on either side.
a black sedan passes between them.
when i was growing up, i played
baseball with my neighbors,
first and third base marked by
a broken paving stone on the sidewalk.
second base was the lane line.
my biggest fear was breaking a window.
the yell reclaims my attention.
these kids are not fighting over
the front passenger seat.
they’re playing shoot ‘em up,
their “bangs” echoing off buildings.
they are screaming
slashing at each other's necks
with flat, empty hands.
they’re playing in the parking lot
stepping on weeds in the cracked pavement
and crumbs of broken glass.
as i watch their games,
i wonder what these young
eyes have seen.