How You Can Tell It’s a Playground
Manmade archipelago, a low, clustered
city of materials, red plastic and steel.
Green turtle sandbox, sand in the shell.
Yellow seesaw with red seats. Slide
with bumps molded into it, an ode to
warped journeys, and the black rubber pail
of a baby swing dangling from two lengths
of chain, each clutching the seat with a free
hand. Mulch, and mulch dug out where
feet go, under the tire swing, at the base
of the slide where the kids collide with
the ground. Fence around it, and a gate
that you can unlatch and push to open.
Paved path nearby, leading there or through,
and a school that can be walked to, or
a daycare. Thick-skinned structures that
want to roughhouse, gently. You can fall
here, and be hurt only a little, a knee
bloodied or bruised beneath unbroken denim,
palmfuls of splintered mulch. Jump. Climb.
Run. We’ll help with the consequences.