When I was a child,
there was a large, grassy vacant lot
next to my parents’ home
where I spent all the daylight hours,
running and pretending and exploring,
playing with my childhood best friend
and all the kids who lived on our block.
In summer we harvested the dark purple berries
from the branches of the mulberry tree,
wishing that they tasted better.
In fall we amassed rolling hills of crunchy brown leaves
and leapt into them, arms spread wide,
sending the leaves scattering with a whoosh,
laughing as we rose to dive again.
In winter I forged a path with red vinyl snowsuit legs
and feet growing chilly in the season’s new snow boots.
One spring, I ran through the field alone,
playing some game with imaginary friends or horses,
and I stumbled upon a large hole in the ground,
which was filled with large, writhing, naked worms.
I stared at it, frozen, as though it were a portal to hell,
then ran back home,
as fast as I could.
I quickly returned to playing there without fear,
and I never encountered this horror again,
never understood what I saw,
wondered sometimes if it was just a dream.
When I was older,
still a child
but too old to play so freely,
the lot was sold, and a large house was built there.
A wooden privacy fence was built around the backyard.
I hardly see any of the grass I used to roll around in,
where I’d lie on my back, watching the clouds drift by.
That mulberry tree is long gone.
But somewhere, maybe just under our neighbors’ basement
or deep underground,
under their deck porch or propane grill,
something mysterious and dark twists and thrashes,
a Cthulhu or land-Kraken waiting to emerge
from the depths of Griffith, Indiana.
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