It was so much fun to take the kid-ways
And cut through alleyways to get from street to street.
They were warrens of unmapped passageways
Between some laws of propriety and private property,
Between and among the one-and-two-family homes,
Small yards, store backs, small factories,
Embellished by holes and gaps and grips for climbing.
You could have walked down this one between
The last house and the backs of stores that fronted on the avenue.
It ran right on down to an embroidery factory’s
Wall. A quick turn right, a wriggle through a fence,
And then a left – you’d soon be out upon another street.
Along the way, there were distractions,
The treasures: the lost pink rubber balls,
The cattail heads that we called punks and tried to light like cigars,
The Ailanthus shoots that become our swords,
The imperfect, discarded military patches behind the factory.
You might get left behind and call out to your friends,
“Hey, wait up,” a catch-phrase you could trust they’d understand.