When I was a kid.
BY Christopher Wick
When I Was A Kid
Most yards were full of gravel,
machine crushed granite from some other part of the state.
Ours was native dirt
decorated with the sparse planting of prickle pear and yucca,
mesquite and cholla.
I did not know their names at the time,
slowly crouching down and hugging my knees to watch
fire ants clamber around my baton of desert grass.
The fine yellow needles of the cactus pads
with ancient black honed tips
like rays of light
passed around the magenta fruit
which had tiny almost-invisible spines of its own.
I was a patient six-year-old
waiting for the slow turn of air
a wave of heat tickling the leaflets of the mesquite.
Feeling my small legs tighten and relax
I would lift my shoulders and sigh
and rest my chin on the other knee
to catch the scratch waddle of a tree lizard
blue-throated, ever vigilant,
raising the full length of its body
just a bit off the earth
and back again.