He was the pied-piper of my childhood
tinkling his pop-goes-the-weasel all over town
and we poured forth from our games of street ball
and playing house and riding swings to chase
this magic piper holding forth his wares.
We would have followed him five miles away
had he not always stopped at the end of our court
where we, sweating and parched, crossed
our magic coins into his palm and gratefully
grasped our prize soon devoured, licking residue
from the sticks and our smudged fingers,
elixir of a summer’s day, then back
to games suspended, regretting the drops
that melted on the streets–evidence that joy,
like time, drops from our hands beyond recall.