Child's Play
By Lucas Jacob


Webs of moisture at the screen,
a window open just enough
for smells of mist and dampened bark,
and magic words
........let’s say
we’re on a mountain, or
elsewhere in a wood. We played roles
adventuresome or domestic
all grown up
in a made world.
Saturday, spring or fall,
butter-topped muffins baking downstairs;
or any day in summer:
hum of window fan two rooms back
despite the rainy weather.

A made world was remade simply:
from twin bed mountain
to the carpeted floor
of my big-brother room
........ let’s say
a ball field,
and players in endless rotation,
dolls and stuffed toys.
When sunshine returned, and voices
called from the drying pavement
or from the lacquered maple table,
the very heart of the house,
we would, simply, pause.
The game would never end:
neither won nor lost.


Now, Saturdays in autumn
we play our games apart, despite
all those still unfinished
behind the screen
of memory.
........ Let’s say
a big brother still
makes rules to suit the moment:
today, in rain or sun, this will be your city.
I say that it will,
as, in a child’s room of color
and music from a plastic box,
I pretended at advice,
or led the game to my advantage.
Now it is to yours.

Pretending at advice:
how to make a marriage?
In the end, it’s child’s play:
........ let’s say
Katy will be a wife, and Gabe
will be her husband.
Play the game together
all grown up
with magic words.
Abide by ever-changing rules;
and welcome every rain
that demands you hunker down,
open wide your eyes
like children,
and make a brand new world.