Sent away to summer camp in nineteen forty-three,

he was nothing but a whippersnapper

yet old enough to notice pretty counselors

all paired off before the second week of camp.

Staff rotated on night patrols escorting midnight

sailors to the latrine. One night, awakened by flashlights

he could not get back to his dream. Feeling homesick he reached

for mom’s care package of citronella-scented mandelbrodt.

With elbows on the windowsill he searched for shooting stars

and instead of counting sheep counted fireflies streaming before

his sleepy eyes. The stillness of the night was marred by the call

of the whippoorwill, a strident song of katydids and a galumphing of a lone bullfrog.

Moonbeams filled the air like auroral flashing lights. He thought he might

be dreaming when he heard a little noiseless noise among the leaves.

Rustling raccoons, nocturnal bandits he assumed.

But then a breathless voice seemed to say, “stick it in.”

Puzzled, he rolled over and fell asleep vowing to ask his counselors in the morning

what kind of grown up games they know that he has yet to learn how to play.


Milton P. Ehrlich