A lot of times
people don’t look at the
children swinging at the park
or if they do, they figure
kids are doing just that;
being kids, swinging at a park.
They stroll by and hear the
squeals of excitement when one kid
jumps off
and lands catlike
and the rest “ooh” and “ahh”
at him in adoration
then they keep walking
nearing their destination in mind.
No one cares why
the kids are there
rather than at home on this
cold October evening
why dusk is creeping in and
the young ones are laughing
like they have all the time in
the world.
What if they have nothing else
to cling to but the
rusted steel links that discolor
their sweaty palms?
Because three blocks away
their mattress and sheet are
the only things in the house
that hug them.
And when their dad snorts
and their mom ran out
two years ago
who wouldn’t want to sleep in
the slide tunnel?

Because no one notices
they’re never there
and you don’t think anything
of seeing them
every time you go walk by the park.

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