simon I. red rover red rover send raymond right over--always the last thing yelled from the mouths of the opposing hand-clenched line of my third-grade classmates way across the green and dirt field of elementary school—i hated the violence the running, the breaking grips— but it was always my dream to be called first, impressing the girl that I liked that day; be the one that broke the line like an olympic runner II. simon says, though, was always good fun: simon says play peek-a-boo simon says tie your left shoe tug on your ear; oops, you lose simon says do your homework simon says mow the front lawn simon says don’t you sass me get dressed for church; oops, you lose simon says believe in god simon says believe in me simon says no work sundays no meat Friday; oops; you lose simon says work hard and fast simon says work to make things simon says work to buy things work till you drop; oops, you lose simon says i’ll make you rich simon says give tithes to me simon says buy my prayer cloth come on this cruise; oops, you lose simon says all is a sin simon says you’re a sinner simon says beg for mercy swear he is god; oops, you lose III. simon says play peek-a-boo simon says tie your right shoe simon says play red rover simon says send raymond right over
Raymond P. Hammond is the editor-in-chief of both The New York Quarterly and NYQ Books. He holds an MA in American Poetry from NYU’s Gallatin School and is the author of Poetic Amusement, a book of literary criticism. He lives in Beacon, NY with his wife and their dog Hank.