To grow up is to shed our exoskeletons of childhood,
then spend our lives trying to climb back within them.
Bones of our own making repose in parks, reminding us
of how fun we tell ourselves life ought to be, all the time.
Dystopian chic in their abandoned disrepair, they sunset
further into memory with every passing year. I hear
the creak of the merry-go-round stalling in the breeze;
the shuffling of birds picking at worm-like laces of shoes
cast over wires and into trees; the whistle of the wind
through cobwebbed, tangled chimes. A snaking line
of perfectly rounded, flattened stones goes untrod,
and a crimson balloon passing overhead flashes vainly
in the afternoon sun, like a notification or a traffic light.
Imaginary friends are out of sight. A clutch of swings
in the playground, there, are tied up like fallopian tubes.
The Ferris wheel sits immobile in the field, ignored by
those figures passing, who barely cast a glance
at this towering dinosaur, its empty eye scrutinising;
its metal limbs rusting slowly in the insouciant rain.
To think so many skeletons have pushed out other
skeletons, in heaves of blood and pain. Children: why
are they always children – again and again?
Rosalind Moran (she/her) is a writer of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and plays. Her writing has appeared in The Guardian, Electric Literature, Prospect Magazine, and others. @RosalindCMoran