They swarm my car
before my engine’s off,
faces smeared with dirt,
babbling, come see right now,
tugging my hands up
the hill, up the ladder, up
into scrap lumber,
crazy rope, feathering branches.
I want to root, gaze forever.
Intruder! Finn yells. Positions!
Leif slithers down, flings up
the rope. Finn pounds closed
the plywood scrap.
Stella’s eyes flash above
her semiautomatic broom handle.
Safe. Now they can show off
finer features: down!–
put the pliers, put that rock in–
up!–the pulley whirls,
Stella leans dangerously
for her pink-ribboned Easter basket.
Their heads make a compass rose
over the war map as crayons
percuss and hyperbolize.
They belly-stretch along the planks like seals.
I step to the edge, carpenter-squint,
praise nailheads, shining tracks.
Back home, after quesadillas,
after Skittle-freckled sherbet,
after Watership Down,
curls smoothed, cheek kissed,
after lights out, my son,
on his back in the moonlight, grips,
I am surprised to see, the barrel
of his plastic pistol, waving
it thoughtfully toward the ceiling.
He says, It looks a lot
like a hammer, doesn’t it Mom?