The kids have finally lost their minds.
Less than a month left to go
until school starts back up
and they’ve finally lost their minds.
Isaac keeps bursting
into fits of senseless giggling.
Ryan, banned from video games this week
due to bad behavior, has taken
to walking around
with the Super Mario Bros
game held tightly to his chest,
humming the theme song.
Andy, meanwhile, has begun
describing life in Lego terms
and spends hours talking
to himself
while building vast Lego structures.
I take them outside for some fresh air
and they become fish
in the swimming pool, turning pruney
and looking like Swamp Things
in goggles that leave red circles
around their eyes and noses
long after they’ve been removed.
They lay in the sun
like strips of bacon
sizzling while I read. Out there,
Ryan says he’s working on his tan, asks
me to paint him a Mario moustache
with eyeliner
while his upper lip beads with sweat.
Andy tries to teach himself to breathe
under water, tells me
he has Kryptonite in his hand.
I don’t understand
the connection. Isaac collects stones
in a yellow metal truck, tells me
they’re potatoes
and I had better eat them all
because it’s nearly dinner time.
Squinting, I look up at the sun
and know he’s lying.
The sun smiles and says
it’s not even lunch time yet.

Rachel Essaff Maher lives in Southern Vermont and writes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Her work has previously appeared in The Pitkin Review, Spires, Hersam Acorn Seasonal Guides, and The Vermont Money Saver.