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  • Writer's pictureLeann Shamash

The Playground

For Ellen,

When we were small

We would run to the neighborhood playground

The hot top would form tar bubbles

which would stick to the bottoms of our sneakers.

We'd bound to the swing set

A giant structure

Large and metal and hot

Its chains reaching up high

We would twirl on the swings

until we were dizzy

Our moms, wearing big sunglasses and

pedal pushers would push us.

Higher and higher we would go

until our feet touched the clouds

We'd climb the impossibly tall slide

Twelve steps up and we were at the top of world,

burning our bums as we slid down

Our moms were there to catch us at the bottom

We'd climb the monkey bars

Hang upside down by our knees

Our moms would stand to the side and watch the show

We'd try to balance on the see-saw but the other kid

would always be just a little too heavy and

we'd get stuck up high,

terrified that we'd hit the ground with a thump.

We'd call for our moms when we hit the ground.

And there they were to dry our tears

In those days our moms were young

Their faces were not yet lined

Their memories were still intact

Their voices and their wills were strong

They had strength and robust health

They'd laugh and they'd yell at us

but they would catch us at the bottom of the slide

They'd tuck us in at night

make sure our ears were clean

They'd wipe our noses and

feed us red jello and homemade cookies,

meatloaf and chicken soup

and peanut butter and fluff sandwiches.

Time passes and our moms are no longer young

Eventually they lose their strength

And one day we lose them

We cry and we mourn that they are gone.

But, close your eyes ....

Your mom is always there in the light behind your eyelids

With your eyes closed tight she is still at that park

still pushing you on those crazy swings

And telling you not to stand on the top of the slide

She is still in her kitchen baking cookies

and calling you in for supper at the end of the day

Laughing, teaching, being a mom

Behind your closed eyes

She is still young and vibrant,

and full of movement

She is still waking you in the morning

and tucking you in at night.

She is still at that playground, in your kitchen,

in your heart

When you close your eyes

your mom will always be young

and your mom will always be your mom

and your mom will love you always

so close your eyes, and smile

and remember

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