Issue Twenty-Nine - Winter 2017

Outside alone at night for the first time (Seattle, 1960)

By Stephanie Barbe Hammer

On a swing. By myself because
The cousin has gone inside
For some reason. She is my only
Relative who is my age that
I know about and I trust her
Because she knows about grass
And going barefoot. I point my toes
To go up on the swing. Lean back
She showed me this. And then I carefully
Jump off… a skill I just learned.
I have never seen night come in over
Houses, til now. The grass grows cold
Under my feet and there are the sounds of
Other children playing in other yards.
A star, two stars. Then the older cousin
— The mother of the one I was just talking about —
Calls me.
I linger and wonder what it would be like to
Play outside all the time and to never wear
Shoes to see time pass in the sky
And to have neighbors
so that I can be by myself
But at the same time
Be accompanied.

Copyright Hammer 2016