My mother and the neighbor ladies in their kitchen voices,
said they’d heard three boys
were arrested, seen emerging from the tunnels. 

I wondered how they’d found their way around
a place for which there are no maps.

My mother said she thought
the trespassing a call for help, really just a
needy display from three kids begging for hugs.

I wondered if every time they’d tried to walk somewhere, the sidewalk always ended
just when they thought they were onto something.

A neighbor lady whispered she was sure
they couldn’t have gotten very far, that the tunnels are
mostly just a myth anyways, aren’t they?

I hoped they’d brought a flashlight as they ducked into the manhole, to navigate
the spaces I’m not supposed to know about.

The women agreed that there was
nothing, really, under there, but some
old water pipes and a heating valve or two.

I bet when the walls hugged them in, with sulphur and motors, that the three boys
hugged back. 

My mother noted curtly that it was
getting late, she’d have to make sure my
homework was all finished, and get me off to bed.

I hoped when they were led out in handcuffs, that their eyes adjusted to the light
enough to see the smiles on each other’s faces, and the snags in the officer’s polyester pants,

and that the static on the policeman’s radio cut out for just a second, and the lights flickered just a pinch
in every whispering
kitchen in the springtime night.