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In the Backyard

My kids’ friends are here. The ones who just wear dresses. Dresses that pass their knees and make every day a Sunday. Dresses that, at this moment, are booking around the backyard, outrunning the kid in the coveted vampire cloak. Until the cloaked kid is breathless and slumps to the grass with new rules.

And someone else grabs the cloak. And flaps around the yard. Until all have flapped and cloaked and slumped. And Tag is suddenly yesterday’s game.

As is Hide and Seek.

And the only thing that matters is harvesting grass in empty flower pots to toss like confetti at girls with long hair. Hair that has fallen from braids and bobby pins and dangles with grassy crumbs. Until simply throwing hand-picked grass at running targets is dull and wasteful. And only cramming it down a t-shirt produces the right amount of screams.

But then the cloak reappears and the wearer has a swim cap. And one of the dresses dons a dish towel like a nun. And with fierce grabs each warrior is plucking clumps and throwing them until a little boy tastes his first mouthful. And then his second. And our lawn appears newly mown in patches.

And I.

I am breathing into the pane at the back door. Silently refereeing. Squeezing my guts each time a kid goes down. Wondering when I run out. If I run out. Or if this is all I’m meant to do. In this moment. Watch. And wait.

And smile.

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