It wasn’t illegal to burn leaves
or have open fires, back then.
Every once in a while,
we’d rake up a huge pile of leaves
from our big oak trees on Fairmount Ave.
We’d bring them
to the end of the dirt driveway,
on the Coles Street side:
no sidewalks there.
The grownups would light the leaves
for a big bonfire.
It was usually early evening.
The neighborhood kids
would begin congregating there.
Soon, a few of the moms
would appear with lawn chairs,
one or two with a cup of coffee.
A couple of dads would meander over.
Someone would show up with a few hotdogs,
and some would bring marshmallows.
Quite a few would disappear
and be back shortly with a couple of potatoes,
which they’d stuff into the leaves
around the base of the fire, to bake.
The grownups would sit around,
talking a little.
We kids would hang around,
poking the leaves with sticks,
listening to the grownups talk.
Every so often, an acorn would pop.