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Sandbox Ė By Daniel L. Tracy

Sandboxes are hard to find these days.
Places where mere dust gives way to
crystalline dreams of military bases
Where my GI Joes used to lie
silently stalking the enemy
until the time was right to strike.

Thirty minutes before supper.

Mom would call me in from
the sandbox or the sidewalked streets
that gunmen now toy with as their playground.
Two blocks away from a
Catholic church so big
I used to think it was, indeed,
the House of God.

There used to be a fireworks display
every Fourth of July down
At St. Fabianís.
Fireworks were illegal in the suburbs.
My grandfather stole away
A box of firecrackers for my
Brother one year.
One that was supposed to go
out the window remained half-lit
As it fell back into the box.
The explosion rattled
my room as a little old lady
outside screamed something
about the end of the world.

I remember my brother carrying
me out into a field one day.
He gave me ten seconds to run
before he took aim with his BB gun
and shot me in the back of my leg.

That was before the bankruptcy.

Before we moved south for the winter.
The winter that never really turned into summer again despite the blistering weather.
Weíre in the south now,
but itís time to fly again,
and Iím not really sure where
weíre supposed to go.

My little brother wasnít born then,
or if he was he wasnít
old enough to remember.

He has vague recollections
based upon the family stories
and legends heís heard told
by my parents to embarrass
my brother and I in front
of our girlfriends
to make uncomfortable situations
even more uncomfortable
So they can maintain control.

I flipped over the handlebars once.

I was chasing my brother.
Trying to keep up and be cool
sucking on a Popsicle.
I donít remember falling
down the stairs or out
of the window,
but my parents swear
it's true and blame
my dementia on the

I blame it on the heat.
On the blistering weather that
Alabama summers always bring.
When itís winter and the heat
still hasnít worn off the asphalt
you can see ghosts rising in the steam.

When itís summer I can see them rising in me.

I can feel the ghosts of old dreams and new chances rising like the moon-bent tide to drown out the anger of last semester with the promises
tomorrow always carries on its fingertips.

Sandboxes are hard to find these days.
Places where the summer still burns like itís supposed to, and winter isnít quite as cold as it should be because thereís always an old fantasy to bundle up with next to the fire.

I keep a stack of them with me
at all times in case I get cold.
They keep me from growing old
as the reality that Iím not as young as I used to be begins to set in.
I keep my body at bay in the gym
and my mind occupied in the classroom,
but it wonít be long before Time finds
A way to catch up with me.

Iíve eluded it for too long.

And when it does Iím going to challenge
Time to a staring contest to see who
outlasts who.
When I lose Iíll smile in denial
because Iíve got a sandbox in my head.
Theyíre hard to find these days.
A place where I can stay and play all
day in my dreamland and still slide
in and out of my Wardrobe at will.

I can feel the steam rising off the
ground where Iíve paved over old dreams.
It wonít be long before the asphalt melts.

Now Iíve got my share of stories
they donít know about.
Grains of sand Iíve crafted
into ice I like to wrap
around my fingers.

It sparkles in the sunlight,
and diamonds canít melt like asphalt
in the heat of an Alabama summer.

Thatís why I use my sandbox
to solidify my dreams.
Sandboxes are like diamonds,
theyíre hard to find these days.
Theyíre symbols of childhood
In a world all too ready
to grow up too soon.
Places where we can play
for thirty minutes before supper.
Before itís time to fly south for the winter.

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The following comments are for "Sandbox"

Because of the way the posting system works on this site some of the lines are misaligned. I'm sure it's obvious which ones are off a bit.


( Posted by: MKMINION [Member] On: July 25, 2002 )

that was beautiful, in a dark way. I liked it. It made me think about my own past, and how those were (at the risk of sounding clichť) the good old days...days when we didn't know any better, before the world came crashing down on us, blasting us out of ignorance and innocence. I'm glad I read this.

( Posted by: the Co.konspirator [Member] On: July 25, 2002 )

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