As a kid, we blew up a fish.
We shoved a bottle rocket into its respiring mouth and lit it.
When it didn’t die,
one of us flicked it back into its habitat
while we watched it slowly descend .
Later that day I set off M80s and more bottle rockets with a lit Newport,
secretly hoping I’d blow my fingers off for the fish.
But I only got grounded.
And told there must be a black cloud hanging over me.
It was the last night of summer.
The breeze danced through the screen and past the shade in my room,
It calmed the guilt in my heart.
Kids reveled, laughed, and “made time” with the neighborhood girls on that final night of freedom.
No one would talk to those girls again until next summer.
Or winter break.
They were summer girls.
I can still smell the cool night air and hear the conversations that lived vibrantly without me while the moon rose.