The Ruined Playground of My Youth

I remember Winston, Catherine,
Kathryn, Page and Andy

Every day in summer
When our parents turned us
Out of doors

Mornings, early, running, chasing
(Why are girls so mean?)

Not quite friends, but friendly playmates
At that age

Winston’s family, they had money
He moved somewhere nice

Catherine with a “C” we called her
She went clear through high school with me
But she struggled, held back one year
I would see her with the pot-heads
Last I saw her, she worked at
A liquor store

Kathryn with a “K” was pretty
By seventh year, a popular girl
Cheerleading and dancing but
Her father had to move the eighth year
I lost track of her
I wonder if she was as popular where she went?

Page I loved (I might just still)
If not my first crush, maybe second
Beautiful and soft and smart and funny
Every boy would like or love her
She stayed nearby, but we went to different schools
We’re Facebook friends now
She is still as lovely, and
Thinks of me as a complete loser
Which is nice

Andy and I went on to be best friends
From sixth grade on, until this very day
After college, he married a rich girl
She was a dentist, thriving practice
Years later she walked out on him
And left him nothing but a computer desk
I think she had a gambling problem
He definitely has a drinking problem

But out here, among the weeds, I hear our young voices
The sort of laughter that only comes when
You are neither worried about tomorrow
Nor locked up
In the past

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