In the Sixties, outskirts of town,
our playground was a forgotten lot.
With cast-off tires, bricks and boards
we fashioned a cabin in that spot.
On a moldy log over the stream
we tested our balance, just for the prize
of pussy willows, tall and tan
and velveteen, on the other side.
The culvert emptying into that stream
was Gothic and steamy, mysterious,
but wickedly fun to stoop and wade
with flashlights into the black abyss.
The branches of a monstrous tree made
a serpentine ladder into the leaves,
and a nearby house, partially built—
a jungle gym of un-plastered beams.
We weren’t wary of leaving home, and
nimbly biked the meandering path
around the lake—quite by ourselves—
with no permission given or asked.
Later, the fence round a private pool
was something we scaled, forbidden and cool
and outlaw, even, when “Stay out of trouble,”
and “Be home for dinner,” were cardinal rules.
Playgrounds or hazards, say what you will.
Our parents might have misconstrued
the merits of such precarious realms,
but lucky for us, they never knew.