“I Need You To Tell Me Everything You Can Remember,” he says.
i close my eyes so i can’t see nothing i don’t want to—like
the red blue white lights on the cars—
and think back years and minutes and hours.
the playground is overrun by jungles and pirate ships.
a battlefield of skinned elbows and dirt faces and,
“mommy, can’t i please stay a few more minutes?
we’re about to defeat the dread captain Roberts!”
we’re peeking out of our boats into the ocean.
it is summer. we may never go back to school again.
we are pirates, we are astronauts,
we are sky-big.
our sunday clothes are stained green, our lips stained blue.
the man by the slide has lost his dog.
he’s carrying around the leash and
asking us to help him, and i would have, sir,
i swear, but my team was winning and i couldn’t
just leave ‘em.
jimmy did though. he was on the losing team anyways,
so it didn’t matter much. he’s a crybaby anyhow.
richie asked him to go find the dog, and i guess he told him
to not come back until he had because
jimmy didn’t finish up the game, sir.
last i saw, he was goin’ off with the man, sir.
i’m not really sure i can tell you what the man looked like, sir.
he was really tall, i guess. wearin’ blackish clothes.
had a dog leash for his dog, the one he lost, you know?
he kept smiling too, but he wouldn’t play, just kept askin’ us for help.
uhm, they went that-a-way, sir. i ‘member thinking that was weird, cause,
see, there’s nothing down that except a couple of statues and some
woodses. but mrs. brewer says dogs can smell stuff better than we can,
so maybe the dog found some treasure or somethin’ and he just runned off.
i used to do that too, sir, but mommy told me to stop leavin’ her,
cause there are people who want to hurt me, she says, and
they can’t get through mommies.
anyhows, that’s really all i know, sir. sorry sir, i was distracted.
my team won by the way.
if you see jimmy, though, sir, tell him we can play again soon.
“Thank You For Your Help,” he says instead,
and i open my eyes
and the lights flash blue and red and blue again,
like the flag we all look at in the mornings,
blue, red, blue, red,
wailing like jimmy is trapped inside,
saying, “mommy, mommy, isn’t it time to go home for dinner?”