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  • Jimmy Broccoli


He bounces the ball in my direction –

and I bounce it back to him


Our days and nights consist of jumping on backyard trampolines, frequent sleepovers, and adolescent shenanigans –

[bonding, as young boys do] …

bikes, record players, and competitive games -

Our afternoons are freshly squeezed lemonade followed by laughter on the porch as the day leans into evening and the cicadas begin their nightly music –

Best friends are like your favorite song on repeat


It’s now late morning and I rest my head upon his shirtless stomach as we youthfully lay together -

near our homes in the green fields, we lounge lazily among the blooming and blossoming flora of colors magnificent – they are breathtaking…

I look at the vibrant flowers that surround us – (their hues are exquisite!) -

and, reluctantly, begin to grasp – to understand - the nature of their temporary beauty…

12 bleeds delicately into 13 – as 13 bleeds (more forcefully) into 14…

[the bouncing balls are discarded for baseball cards, more-advanced video games and locked doors at night so the parents don’t accidentally walk in]


The names of girls in colorful letters, then, begin to embrace the covers of our classroom notebooks –

He and I sit at lunch and write expressive verse (as we always have) -

Today, I write about leaves –

when it is time, the leaves disconnect and parachute onto the ground below – they slowly wither, and they then blow away into the directionless wind…

This is what leaves do – this is what leaves always do…


Childhood sleepovers bleed hesitantly into fist bumps, deepening voices, and sitting feet apart while sitting on the couch and watching movies at his place –

We no longer sit next to each other at the dinner table –

he is across from me – and I am not adjusting well to that…


His focus is elsewhere –

…I am looking in his direction and nowhere else [I am focused] –

I notice he smiles less-innocently than before at the pretty girls in homeroom –

while I am looking in his direction – and I am not looking anywhere else…


It’s cheap alcohol in unrevealing paper bags (his older brother scored!) –

in the parking lot of the grocery on an early Saturday night –

his arm around her shoulders

his arm around her shoulders…

14 bleeds into 15 and I no longer rest my head upon his shirtless stomach – as we no longer lay together in green fields of flowers and splendor


we are all hanging out in the back of his older brother’s truck –

talking shit and stepping into adulthood, sloppily –

[he looks at me briefly, as if I’m an afterthought or as if I am an inconvenient memory] -

She is wearing his favorite denim jacket…

[he looks at her as I have always looked at him – as I look at him now]

She is wearing his favorite denim jacket...


I know what I am – and know he is something different


I bounce the ball in his direction –

and it does not return to me

Photo: Jimmy Broccoli

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