The helicopter had circled the soccer field repeatedly.
It was military, we were pretty sure –
That puke green color that stands out so well against blue suburban skies.
An airman poked his head out of the side door
(I don’t know what they call that – that door. On the side.)
He squinted down at us (at least, that’s how I imagined it)
Waved one hand, an open mouth visible beneath his black goggles and helmet.
He seemed to be shouting something,
“Howdy”, perhaps, or “Mind your manners”
Who knows, right?
Anyways, there it was, and there he was,
Hanging out of a chopper.
Waving at us,
When – and, I swear, this may in fact be true –
The potential future president breezed right by me
With his perfect hair and boys,
He stopped, stock still, slowly turned to face me.
Fingered my shirt material:
“J. Crew, is it? I can tell, you know.
I can tell who made what.
I just can’t tell you why.”
There must have been something, then.
Some moment, when I could have corrected him.
“Banana Republic” I could have replied.
Or, to flummox him “Dockers”.
The thing was, he was right.
And I still don’t know why.
That moment, frozen now,
Like some weird scene in an unshaken snow globe.
Him with his hand on my lapel,
Those straight backed, always beaming boys.
That damned helicopter, the shouting.
A soccer ball zooming in mid-air,
For the side of my head.
Maybe that was all the fuss, then.
All that material, everything on and above that field,
All of it made in China.
I don’t know – but, there, across the field,
In the playground I heard screaming,
And I knew what the airman was shouting, finally.