I remember those Bronx summers.
We kids waited inpatiently for cars
to pass, before running
into the frothy, freezing
water of the fire hydrant,
falling hard on dirty, mean street
converted to playground until
the fireman came. Big, tall with authority,
armed with a huge wrench,
he'd close down the fun.
Of course, no one ever knew
who'd been lawless, defiant enough
to provide such free entertainment.
But we were all grateful, if not for
a drenching, at least for being able
to watch, to feel the freshness of
gushing water, amidst the stifling,
humid, hot oppression of inner city summer air.
Today, I smile as I think of my summers,
so comfortable now. I can play in real water parks,
or simply enjoy the shade in my yard, where
only rabbits break the rules,
stealing vegetables from the garden.
I still think too of Bronx summers.
How I moved aside, making room
for kids today.
Some say they're lucky.
Sprinkler caps for fire hydrants
make it possible for them
to legally play in the water.
It falls gentler now, on dirty,
mean streets, amidst the stifling,
hot oppression of inner city summer air.
(For Poets United.)