Just by Myself


I like to play with my friends.
Sometimes we build a fort in the big oak tree
with blankets and pulleys and a lookout scope.
It’s a noisy place
full of “Here they come! Lower away!
Get under cover!”
But sometimes
I like to be just by myself
in my room.
I lie on the floor and do a puzzle
or draw a picture of a cat
sitting on a fence
or read my favorite book
over and over again.
I like to play with my friends.
Sometimes we play statues,
twirling around faster and faster.
“You’re a monkey! I’m a streetlight!
What are you?”
BUMP! THUMP!
It’s a good thing we’re not made of glass!
But sometimes
I like to be just by myself
on the grass.
I watch the clouds sail through the sky.
Some of them look like bears
and some like dragon kites.
Once I saw one that looked like an elephant
with a long, long trunk.
I like to play with my friends.
Sometimes we go to the park
and build houses and tunnels and roads in the sand.
Then we pretend we’re mountain climbers on the bars.
We get on the swings and pump and pump and pump
until we’re swinging so high we’re almost flying.
But sometimes
I like to be just by myself
on the porch.
I sit and listen
to the tic-tic-tic of the clock in the kitchen
or the shsh-shsh-shsh of the breeze
against the old screen door
or, sometimes, just the sound of quiet.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Charles Shaw