D. C. Summer of ’98

They wore Summer home like a flag,
new generation patriots
baptized in the dust of D.C.
Shirt-tailed by Lincoln’s ghost,
their covert glances behind
expected sudden resurrection
from a too short bed.
A story not allowed to die.

Seven years old…
spell-bound by scenes he recognized,
his screech reverberated,
bounced from stone statues.
“I’m standing where Forest Gump stood!
We saw that movie eight times.
“Look Dad, ‘member this?”

Content on dad’s shoulders.
She saw Pennsylvania Avenue in comfort,
spent discussing with a guard
why the presidential dog
wasn’t home that day.
Buddy had been top priority on their list.

A side street excursion found
The Crazy Hat Shop.
Two hours of fantasy,
thirty-six hilarious snapshots,
a trio of stand-ups,
exasperated poppa on curb.

Smithsonians, exhausting, exhilarating,
decades of history.
Lunch eaten midst a loud tourist crowd,
comments heard, matching our own thoughts.
How can five precooked, prewrapped,
rewarmed hamburgers cost forty-seven dollars?”

Pictures taken that week
stare back at me now.
My eyes burn, remembering,
going home, back seat, my son,
his son, his daughter, in exhausted slumber,
tangled legs, arms, sunburned faces.
One small hand, open…
exposing a crumpled subway pass.
The last question before sleep overcame
had no easy answer.
“Daddy, will America still be here when I grow up?”