The way life used to be

Summer mornings, when I was very young
My father would announce an outing
And my mother packed a lunch
And gathered up my infant sister

My older brothers, eye-rolling
And infinitely wise, despairing of
The younger generation
Gathered necessities defined by long
(several weeks)
Tradition and off we trundled

Those days, people walked
And so did we
Past shoe shops and drugstores
(always a brief, longing pause)
Hill high houses and pooched porches
Scraggle lawn-bare bungalows
Vacant lots, still equipped
With bottle bases and cardboard home plates
And the occasional mildewed fielder’s mitt
Wantonly discarded in a fit of pique

Past milk jugs left in sun-swept doorways
Cars on concrete blocks, their wheels
Unseen and unimagined

Down past side streets and alleyways
And trellised garden glimpses
Down to the parkway past
The big-bricked library
Packed from floor to ceiling
With adventure, intrigue,
Piracy and noble experiment,
With love and loss,
With everything that was not us
On summer mornings

Across the broad car-fringed roadway we went
To a certain large elm
Strewn about with green immortal grass
And laid out our blankets
Ate our lunch
And dozed the day away
My brothers off on some creek-filled adventure

Was life unkind?
Probably, obliviously, inobviously,
And perfectly.

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