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San Clemente Journal

A Barefoot Evening by John Perry

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A Barefoot Evening

It’s a barefoot evening.

Timid shadows hide

behind crimson Azaleas

and peek around

the front porch steps

of Elmira Johnson’s

mustard-colored Victorian.

The house we call haunted

And only approach during daylight.


A gentle breeze

rustles dry, brown leaves

of the Sycamore trees

lining Main Street.

In nearby fields,

yellowing corn stalks rattle

and heads of barley

change from tan to gold

as they bow before

the last rays of sunlight

that stretch across the valley.


In the town square

blades of newly mown grass

feel warm and prickly

as my bare back presses

against the earth,

while my eyes keep watch

for the promised crescent moon

and my mind soars

toward emerging stars.


Tommy Preston torments my sister

with crawdads we brought back

from wading in the creek…

I bet they get married some day.

Lights go on in Tsuda’s Grocery,

The Five &Dime, and The Corner Café.

When the streetlights come on

Mom calls us home for supper.

I’ve got to remember

to wash the summer off my feet

before I go inside.