A Game We Play

“Come out, come out, wherever you are.”

A game I don’t actually remember playing.
The only one I think might have been,
I recall from sometime a long way back,
is my mother; I hear the sound of her voice.
I see the backs of her hands, held together
as a kind of screen or shield for her face,
hiding her eyes, and I’m passive in my crib,
– high-level thought for such a young age –
wondering why she believes I’m hiding.
She’s the one with hands in front of her face
making it appear she’s hiding from me.
And anyway, I’m right here, Mama.
Move your hands away and you’ll see me.
She plays this way to make me laugh,
but she’s laughing, and harder than I’d guess.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are.”

It’s the cadence of childhood, of play
before I could play much of anything at all.
It’s a kind of melancholy sing-song call,
now she’s the one hiding from me again,
and this time I will be finding her in the end.

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