On the way to the pumpkin patch with the petting farm and
the tractor rides, the bales of hay and the shoe-house,
my grandson announces his decision: he never wants to be a grown-up
because grown-ups have to work and that’s no fun.
He’ll be a kid forever.
We hide behind our bodies, bigger, fuller, rougher than his.
He doesn’t guess our secret—how we sit
in our offices, at our desks, in our swivel chairs,
squirming to be kids. Tell me it’s not true:
your legs itch to climb those monkey bars in the schoolyard,
blood rushing to your head to hang upside
down from a rung at the top.
The urge is there, the child in you begging
for a break from work, restless for release—
for heart-pumping play in the woods or the surf,
in a vacant lot down the street, on a stoop, cement.
A hill is not a mound of grass and earth, but a call to action:
Come, it says, like you did when you were young. Race down my slope,
tripping, tumbling, shrieking your laughter to the sky
as you roll to a stop at the bottom.
You know you want to swing, pumping hard—
or, at least, to be pushed on a swing
or carried on a back or on shoulders
that lift you to the ceiling and understand your need
to be tall for a moment and then small again
at nighttime, when you’re ready to let go of the day
and be read to and cuddled; to be tucked in,
precious and adored.
If none of this is true, tell me why you’re smiling.
Or why you’re not—why you’re gripping your chair,
hanging on for dear life.
© by Lori Levy.
Used with the author’s permission.