hot Chesapeake night, I wonder
why they were outside, the adults,
in a circle, like a powwow, around
a fire, the smoke, someone said
to keep off the mosquitoes, though
it didn't, or we were too far away,
dodging around the Russian olive tree
with its monolith branches twisting
monster shadows by the fire,
the cherry where earlier that year
the boys had climbed and picked and eaten,
not knowing there were worms, ha ha,
and now us running past and around
the circle of parents drinking hard, vodka,
Jim Beam, their whispers and sharp laughs
mingling with the crackle of fire.
Later, they switched to beer and we,
sweaty from play had settled against
the metal side of the above-ground pool,
the bunch of us until someone, not me, said:
they're so drunk they won't notice
if we fill their beer bottles with pool water.
Without deciding to, fully, we made a plan,
one belly crawling over the tufted lawn, elbows and
knees, skinny arm reaching over the space
between their flipflops, loafers, workboots,
to grasp a bottle, pass it back, kid to kid,
dumping it beside the pool and refilling
with chlorine tinged liquid, then back,
kid to kid, and placed beside a tapping foot.
They drank without knowing and we huddled
in our own circle in the grass behind them
howling with glee, repeating it time and again.