The Outing

I close my eyes; life is young and wild
the sand peppers my feet
the night wind dampens
my face

I sway to my body’s rhythm
left   right   arms raised
I leap toward the sky
in this night of possibilities

The others talk mostly to themselves
recalling the past   romances
going off to a war that was proud  
if unwanted

I hold my secret   I don’t want to see them
flying up here   I see enough of them
everyday—those who lean on their walkers
or are pushed by a chatty volunteer

Stay away, I warn silently and drift
through the night’s stars and hazy clouds  
the dying embers of the bonfire join me
in my dance

Soon enough it’s over   we’re back in the bus
heading to the warehouse called home
Ceillie licks sticky marshmallow
off crooked fingers  

smacks her lips on the last of the chocolate
Ben is already snoring and farting
and I can’t seem to make myself
light enough to get off the ground

—Jackie Langetieg, Verona, WI