I lay sprawled on the gravel
like some nineteen-fifties western
movie extra shot in the back,
belly pushing up against my spine,
heave of dusty breath,
knees digging into small rocks
hands and face impregnated
with granular sharp corners.
Waking darkness settled my mind
as my jeans slid off
after three wooden blows to the backbone
broke my wings of flight—
my shriek tunneled
the blackness to remote ears.
Weightless, I saw it all third person
suspended upon the nearby swing set,
the metal chains a perfect pendulum,
the rubber seat became rock-a-bye cradle.
When it was over—it’s never really over—
I pulled myself together
three score jigsaw pieces shy of a thousand
with darkness filling those voids
while memory dug furiously to bury
the dying sense of childhood safety—
knowing go home makes nothing better.
copyright © 2018 Kenneth P. Gurney