I consider waving my hand
around like a magician.
Instead I just look at the branches.
A few minutes go by.
You’re not impressed, are you?
She looks right and left, like she’s shaking
her head slowly. She winces.
Maybe it’s like a story you still love
because you heard it as a kid?
I’m sure some of my places
would put you to sleep.
She looks distracted.
In a bad way.
I sit on the bench under the giant maple tree
where Caroline Street cuts across the brook.
What’s one of your places?
Alice looks at me from across the path,
then through the leaves.
The wind almost smells like summer.
You’re going to laugh.
I sigh. Considering all the secrets
of mine you know…
Okay, but don’t tell anyone.
She looks at Cedar Robinson’s house.
…the parking lot behind the Magos.
She grins and blushes and looks down.
I think think about it for a second.
I don’t know, really. I’ve always been drawn
there, since I was little. It’s got three brick walls
and the hill behind the fence.
I love that. It feels so… cozy.
You know, like a pillow fort.
A go-to hiding place.
She lays down on the bench
and puts her head in my lap.
I look at the sky through the leaves.
Would you show it to me?
God, but what if it’s like this?
She waves her hand. I mean, this place is beautiful
but it doesn’t make me feel safe, you know?
Well, you haven’t seen the actual culvert
yet. Maybe that’ll speak
to your inner little-Alice.
Deal. You show me the culvert
and I’ll try to explain the back
of the Magos. Shall we?
Alice rights herself.
I’m supposed to meet your sister
there at 1:15. She checks her watch
and dusts herself off.
What about after?
She stares off. Great.
She smiles. That’ll be great.
Wait, what time?
I don’t know. I’ll meet you…
at the swings… around 3:30?
And hey—before I forget,
where were you
when we were walking over here?
Ah… I think hard.
She leans down
and kisses me forever
on the mouth.
Then she’s walking
brisk up Caroline Street, crunching
the gravel between the birdsongs.
I follow walk to Forest Street
and look down. For once,
I don’t want to climb in.