Dad and I sit and sway ‘til mother wants
me home. She scolds my dad if we are late,
whining “You are gonna get that boy sick!”
“Oh, Woman,” he says mumbling away.
Each day after work we walk to the park and
watch the purple and orange velvet clouds fade
into night and wait for each street light to start
their graveyard shift; watch the squirrels scramble
to gather last minute groceries for the holidays.
Every so often a black bird lands in front
of me, fearfully scouting the area while my feet
zoom by its hollow head, barely nicking its beak.
A cool breeze reddens my cheeks and my breath
swims in the brisk air. The rusty bolts
hold my weight and softly creak as I kick
the pokey wood chips into the air, tracking each
flip and spin, landing helplessly amidst their
friends. Some nights Dad never says a word.
Gazing at the cars thumping over the cobblestone,
a tear tumbles off his cheek. I pretend not to notice
as he turns his head and wipes his nose.
“We better get you home, before your mother worries.”
I hop off, land hands and knees in the tack-like chips.
I squeeze his fingers as we walk down my street.
Already dark and the coldest night of the year,
mother is pacing in the kitchen, fiddling her thumbs,
but she doesn’t say a word. “Good night, Dad!”
I yell, blowing him a kiss. “Same time tomorrow?”
“Same time,” he says walking away. “Same time.”

One reply on “Swing”

I remember when I first read this…I cried again this time. I’m glad it’s not the reflection of your childhood, but there are lots of kids out there that could say, “That’s my life.” That’s what makes me cry.


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