In the Playground – 9 pm

We walked past Delores Park at 9 pm,

The air all thick with loamy dampness;

Dirt and grass and the smell of the sea,

The end of fall and start of winter,

Making the night feel long.

It was unusually warm,

Warm enough for us to tuck our hats into our pockets,

Take our jackets off.

We were hand in hand for the first time,

Both of our palms sweaty,

Our hands the exact same size and fingers clasped together tightly.

After getting ice-cream,

We walked up the palm tree lined sidewalk to the playground,

The night dark and sweet,

Our lips sticky with popsicles,

The moon high and white.

I ran up the longest slide, gathering momentum,

At the top, not seeing it,

I slammed my forehead into the metal safety bar,

And looked around stunned,

Feeling my skin tender and a knot rising already,

Then I slid down giggling.

You got stuck in the rubber swing,

Swaying upside down,

Your shorts caught in the side chain,

Almost leaving you pantless,

Naked from the waist down.

I unhooked you from the swing in the dark,

We could not stop laughing.

I wonder –

If this had been a dream,

Like the kind about flying or getting lost or funny monsters,

The symbolism would have been blinding.

I don’t have an answer,

But walking sometimes feels like finding omens,

There is meaning in little things;

Let us run up that slippery slope of desire,

Our clothing falling by the wayside,

In the loamy, warm night.

About Avery Cassell

Avery Cassell is a queer butch San Francisco writer, poet, cartoonist, and artist who grew up in Iran.
This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to In the Playground – 9 pm

  1. ulla says:

    wonderful, as ever. first few lines made me think of dylan thomas: rich words full of rhythm


  2. birdielou says:

    Dylan Thomas? I am obscenely flattered! Blushingly so….


  3. Kitty Frank says:

    Lovely lovely lovely


  4. birdielou says:

    Ah, Kitty….I was wondering when you’d show up!


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