In Between

Written by  Tim Dolan

Grapes on the vine
Dusty, silver-grey
Hang over fences in neat clusters
Along the alleys in our East Liberty neighborhood

Through September and October bees and wasps
Hover in the last rays of the sun

I pick a bunch for my son, Hank
and pull a slow-moving wasp out with it

Do you want to go on an adventure?

In these weeks of dwindling sunlight
Hank, his friend Walter, and I
go on adventures
just exciting enough, not too scary
I pull them in an old green wagon
with a bent wheel
through overgrown alleys

We find grapes--green, white, purple and red
dusty plums
sour green apples
tiny red-yellow apples
lopsided Red Delicious
worm holes on one crimped side
but sweet whole crisp unblemished red on the other
green pears
yellow sunflowers

Each week the same route
our way remembered
familiar path and favorite puddles
driveways to bump over or skid around on
thistles and sticker bushes to avoid
fruit trees
providing a comfort
and organizing the geography of their young minds
Pick yellow flowers for our mommies
eat fruit
throw cores
spit seeds
and laugh

Follow the overgrown trail between garages
where the cat disappeared
Stop to check the progress of pumpkins swelling out on twisted vines

Run like mad
then rush back to the safety of the wagon
Turn crazy fast circles up and down inclined driveways
the wagon's wheels sliding out...
Do it again!

The alley ours
dogs behind fences
tiger cats camouflaged in yellow grass
a car or two—along with the mantra shout of "car!"
garages and houses
with backs turned
let us wheel on by

At a house with a trampoline
I lift the boys up
one at a time
so they can look over the fence and shout
Oh! Ofa! For some reason
The same shout
week after week.

Taking turns at a game
Hank sits on my lap

When it is his turn
Walter comes over
and takes his place in my lap

Next year they will be too big
Walter will move away
and we'll have to ride bikes
and dodge goat-head stickers

and it won't be quite the same
as pulling two boys who
just fit
in a


Additional Info

  • Location: East Liberty