Swing-set

It was your day.
We went for a stroll
to while the time away—
just like you, to keep it simple.

The sun was glaring at us
and we’d left our shades at home,
still, we roamed along
the new cement that lines the road—
listening to a jay’s shrill cries,
as if to say, happy birthday.

I was keen to fool around,
running across the road to the
green playground,
where old-time swings
hang waiting to sway.
The seat was soaked,
from the night’s rain.
I wiped my sleeve back and forth
in the pool of water;
you whipped out a tissue
to mop up the rest.

It’s your day, you first! I laughed.
You were quick to settle in
to the rubber sling, your feet
rising from the sand.

I pushed the small of your back
with splayed hands,
and felt like a kid again,
waiting for a turn
to be the one having all the fun.

Up you rose, higher and higher,
flying back into your childhood memories,
where I don’t belong.

Those strong chains,
held on and I let you go,
pumping those legs like a little boy
with grass-stained knees,
rising up to the trees and sky beyond.

“Don’t jump off”, I warned.
You dragged your toes,
until the swing came to a halt,
and stepped away,
a fifty-four year old married man again.

Then, I grabbed the iron chains,
lifting my seat
into the black, rubber swing.
You stood and gave a good shove;
I drifted high into a dream of
hazy days when

it was my daddy
behind me.

Slowing down, I looked over
at the plastic slide
on the other side of the park,
recalling the singe of metal
on the backs of thighs
and felt the sting
of time.

Kathleen Mortensen ©2016

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