Leaving Behind

By Lane Vitek

We thwacked the ball
chucking the bat behind
sprinting across the lawn.

We adventured
upping the willow tree
stacking stick forts in the woods
navigating through the trails
spotting deer tracks
gnawing on the corn
savoring every moment
etching our heights in the wall

We would pitch the tent
or play never-ending rounds of hide and seek
lounging on the porch
sprawled out on the grass
or leaning on the tree
the willow tree
admiring our place
worshiping it
our lawn
our memories
our house
our childhood
our home.

We lit fireworks
in our backyard
lit by the fireflies' green light
and the smell of desperately layered bug spray
on the Fourth of July
celebrating by ourselves
on our place
our lawn
our memories
our childhood
our home.

We shot at cans
with paintballs and beebees
we rode our dirtbikes
disturbing, yet
entertaining the neighbors
as they watched
part of the family.

We visited their house
stringing toys to the trees
for the stray cats
that would visit our houses.

We spent days
tending to the gardens
mowing the brown lawn
to big to water
it became a melody
a lullaby
a comfort sound
of home
I can hear it now
that so recognizable
the buzzing deep hum
of the riding mowers' blades spinning

The lingering smell
of lawn clippings
the pear blossoms
lining the gravel driveway
the willow flowing
in the perfect breeze
the sunny hot grass
melting the water balloon remains
a utopia
our home

But then the news came.
Someone was unhappy
someone tore apart
our family
our summers
our lawn
our fields
our home

We had to say goodbye
goodbye to the memories
the willow tree
the blossoms
the corn
the lawn
that hum
the deep vibration
of the blades spinning
cutting through the air
now it's gone.

We had to leave
had to shoot our last beebees
set our last fireworks
mow our last mow
the last hum.

And we left.
Leaving the etching
of our heights
in the wall.

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