You squat down, brushing sweaty hair back as you lean for a close look. Below the bottom metal v’s of the chain link fence is a skinny strip of dirt. The other kid pokes a worm with a twig. “You know, you can cut worms in half. It doesn’t even kill them. They grow two worms,” they say. You think, well, that’s just an excuse. That kid just wants to cut a worm. Then they do- they squish the worm with the stick. Greeny yellow goop comes out. Both sides stop wriggling.
Buttercups stick up higher than the rest of the weeds, so bright yellow. You pick one and say to your friend, “Do you like butter? Let’s see.” You hold the buttercup under your friend’s chin and see a yellow shine on their skin. They can’t see it but you can. “You do, you do like butter!”
Dandelions spikey leaves circle out and hold flat to the ground. Dandelion stems are light and hollow. Dandelion flowers are spikey soft. Dandelion puffballs are the best. You can hardly see the seeds fly away in the white sky.
You can also slit a dandelion stem with your fingernail and thread another dandelion through it, until you make a line of them. It can turn into a crown.
Watermelon comes out at night. The big knife slides through, cutting crooked halves. Then the slices. Are you big enough for a half circle, putting your whole face in? Eating outside you just spit the seeds. Can you spit them far? Some dribble right down to dirty bare feet. Juice slides down wrists, even elbows. Even knees. Invisible juicy tracks will show up black with dirt by bath time.
“Allee allee incomefree” calls everybody back in for a new round. It’s dusk, everything looks gray and fuzzy-edged. It’s hard to tell who’s who. A big kid puts the empty tin can down in the middle of the dead-end street. Everybody scatters, the little ones hardly dare to come out. You go one half step closer to the curb. The big kids skirt the shadowy edges, bending down by bushes, closer, closer until one dashes out to- kick the can! You pee your pants with suspense.