Callused palms, and grass-stained elbows.
Their cheeks flushed with afternoon play.
My heart jolts in my chest
at the sound of pierced screams,
before I look up to see them laughing.
They tug and swing on shined monkey-bars,
daring each other to kiss the girl next to them.
I thought that I still had some child in me.
Enough to still stress about midterms.
Enough to still believe assholes.
And enough to still call my mother crying,
about failed midterms and pompous assholes.
But in this moment, I think, not so much.
I look to the children through chain-linked fence,
A blood-rust distinction between me and them.
Past them was a schoolyard mural.
“Believe in your dreams!” it read.
Painted in graffiti-like letters,
A rainbow cluster fuck.
I wanted to shout to them,
as I watch their untouched space in time.
I wanted to tell them to believe in love,
and to believe in their dreams.
But to never surrender happiness,
their crescent eyes and fervent hearts,
to any love, or any dream.
But instead I leave the children,
to leap with rattling lunch pails.
They bite into no-crust peanut butter sandwiches,
Thin hair pressed with sweat to their foreheads.
Their laughter eventually seeps into silence,
as I turn and continue down the street.
Chandler Nolan is a staff writer for The Weekender. Contact her at [email protected]