Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Good Old Days

A garage door rumbles up slowly. 
He must have seen me coming 
in my navy blue pleated skirt 
and white cotton blouse
walking home from school.
BAM!  his pants drop to the floor,
he waves congenially at me,
my eyes follow his 
down to a dangling 
turtle neck.
I won’t tell my parents about this old man 
on our street--They’d not let me walk
that way again. 
But I know what lurks 
on all streets leading home 
in South Bend, Indiana.
A stranger in the park tried
to coax me to his car,  my
father's friend, a captain,
trapped me in his bathroom 
with frantic french kisses.

That  Peeping Tom (one of many)!
My neighbor caught him
pulling on my bedroom window
while I lay dreaming
just blocks from Notre Dame.
And little Ronnie Gloster hung himself
when he was 10.
His dad knows why.
Tonight an author on the radio
speaks sadly about the good old days
when a child could walk to school
and home again without a care. 
I want to call him on the air.
There were no good old days
in South Bend, Indiana.