Friday, February 26, 2010


In the mild summer evenings of my childhood, we would play
a game called "Statues". At the first step of the porch, whoever
it was who was "It" would turn his or her back to the other children--
the rules of the game having been finally settled after a long parley--
and count to fifty as the others on the far end of
the sidewalk by the street would creep up, hoping to touch
their shoulder before the count was done but under the
rule that whoever was caught was"out".
The point was to guess how fast the count would last,
which was a question among the younger children at least,
and also how to be patient enough to freeze in place when 50 was reached
while making progress to the house. The fear of "It's"glance should freeze
you in your place if "It" began to turn.
Inevitably a dispute arose over who was seen moving or not and
one clown would hang balanced on a foot as if to emphasize the Gorgon-like look
of "It" when "It" turned round.
Another version of this fight about arrival at "It" would
center around whether the count was clear and counted
fair and square,or if It mumbled, which is a specialty of the part.
An allegory of Mortality and Time.
Such a game of statues I have played with your look and you with mine,
the fatal intersection which each crosses like electrical lines avoided
as through a second sense. But as the Game, the risk once won
as if chance shaved quite raised the stakes, and this time might transfix.

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