No promises of tomorrows.
No guaranteed outcomes.
I’ll tag you, you tag him.
He'll tag me back again.
That was the code we lived by.
But this day, it was
a day to pose
a day to posture
a day to strut our stuff
a day to celebrate just that
one more day.

"Come on now! Hurry up!
Snap the picture”

No school today.
No Nuns to be feared
slamming their yardsticks inches from
our heads
against our desks,
in retaliation for crimes and misdemeanors
laughter in the hallowed classroom
scuffles in the lunchroom
smoking in the boy’s room
inappropriate meetings in the girl’s room
clandestine gatherings in the hall
with those deemed to be the
wrong crowd.

But this day, this picture day
no fears exist.
Nor do future threats
nuclear war or conflicts
on far-away shores.

They will soon come calling camouflaged, disguised,
gift wrapped in flags, garnished with patriotism.
We will be conscripted
destined to become a part of the sacrificial lot
politicians who will soon want us to fight,
older generations who need to wage war,
asked to settle scores of lifelong feuds.

They will seduce us into the fight.
One we did not start.
One we did not want to continue.
We went anyway.
Was it guilt, obligation, or patriotic fervor,
Saving face or formally declaring our courage and masculinity?
We became the fodder
to keep the beast satiated.

But not that day
That day without worry
That day of
red light, green light
hide and seek
Carvel flying saucers
Mr. Softee,
capturedin mayonnaise jars...

These are the thoughts that flood my mind today
looking at where we three, stood
forever young and frozen in time.


In Memory of— Jan Eric Takaro (1950-2017)