We’ve had a lot of rain
and the path around the pond
feels soft now, besides,
I’m wearing new sneakers
with orange trim and a mesh top.
The last time I had cushy sneakers
like this were my Keds black tops
with white rubber edging
around the bottom. I was eight then
and felt I could jump a mile-
from one sidewalk box to the next.
Allen Mauer, who had a crew cut
and wore glasses, sat next to me
in third grade and always wore
sneakers-usually with brown tops.
Then, and for a long time after,
I assumed that my mother was right
when she said that wearing sneakers
all the time, was bad for your eyes. She said
the same thing about rubbers and galoshes.
My sneakers now are from Run Like The Wind
owned by a wiry guy with receding hair,
who posts pictures of himself
running thirty years ago,
and photos of his son, a track star now.
He lives in an historic house in the village center
with white hydrangea blooms
a hand-span across-not bad for a guy
who sells sneakers in a strip-mall.
When I get to the grassy area,
I pull up my socks against ticks,
listen to the swoosh of grass
against my feet. To the right,
the tide is only a trickle
in the mud flats; a snowy egret
stands in water up to its ankles. At the back of the bay,
I stand on the stone bridge,
a small waterfall
flowing under it, then walk
around the pond where wind
waves the water.
I sit on a bench beneath
the grand umbrella of the beech,
its branches hanging low
around me. As the wind ruffles
the leaves, its branches breathe
up and down.
The flowering privet hedge
around the grist mill,
smells like summer when I was a child-
the best treat then, was a raspberry
Roman ice pop from the Good Humor man
and, living dangerously,
wearing sneakers every day
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