Jul/Aug 2017 Poetry

Once Upon a Time

by Ruth Kogen Goodwin

Image courtesy of the British Library Photostream

Once Upon a Time

April 29, 1992
Los Angeles, CA

Our swingset was a dragon,
our porch swing, a pegasus.
We made potions from crab grass
and dirt, smashed jacaranda
petals for seasoning. We ate
by flinging mouthfuls over our heads,
chewing enthusiastically, rubbing
our bellies. We reveled in fullness.

We were green with innocence.
White with guilt.

That afternoon was like
every afternoon. We didn't notice
the smoke screen, hear the tinnitus
of sirens now long ago, still far,
far away. Mom appeared on the porch,
fret lines pleating her brow.
Today you have to play
inside she said, and we learned
that make believe was not safe.


Previous Piece Next Piece