What innocents we were, walking far from home,
chunks of cheese knotted in your scarf
hanging from a bamboo fishing pole. Tom
Sawyer and Becky Thatcher out on a lark.
Pleased, we plunged ahead, confident we knew
our own true way. We drank from garden hoses
and laughed at the rubbery taste. Among the poplars
chattering birds flew beside us down the long allée
shielding us from human intervention. Finally,
at the flank of a field, aglow in the setting sun,
we took shelter beneath a cerulean sky and slept, unaware
of moonglow on our faces and shadows made by passing stars.

For most of his professional life, Jerome Long was an editor and writer in corporate communications departments. In his retirement, he has published both poetry and short stories in a variety of literary magazines and is currently teaching creative writing to his fellow residents in a retirement community.