We were the original
latch-key kids, confined
to the house after school,
sustained on Mallomars,
Ritz and Velveeta,
Howdy Doody and the Mickey Mouse Club.
Not allowed to ride bikes
to skate in the street
to meet up with friends.  

In our hunger for adventure
we claimed a New World,
christened it Spooky Driveway.
Our secret forest of dense weeds, junk trees
and mysterious sounds
faded furniture and broken bottles
at the dead end, a dark and thorny thicket.  

Daily, on the walk to 4th grade
we would detour into the driveway
frighten ourselves
imagining animals or intruders
hoot and shriek and spook
each other as best we could
run out breathing hard
into our safe post-war
neighborhood of neat row houses.  

By 5th grade we recognized
our claim as an overgrown,
undeveloped lot.  

By 6th, our innocent taste
for adventure was cut short
by disturbing lessons on growing up female
that conjured
a kidnapper or rapist
behind every tree 
and in every dark place.
We never went back.