• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 06
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Monkey Bars

Queen of the Monkey Bars, I sit,
legs dangling over a metal bar,
light beams bouncing off patent-leather shoes
across the schoolyard to blind my rivals.

I am pure balance, as home here,
above the playground, as the blue jay
who mocks me from the chestnut tree
as I walk the six blocks to third grade.

Caught by the wind, my skirt balloons
like a parachute. Blue- and red-striped
polyester lashes at my face, bares thighs
and flashes my pink Tuesday panties.

Ignited by grade-school laughter,
my skin bursts into flames.
I fumble for my hem and lose
my grip on the cold, hard steel.

I fall, like Icarus, to the gravel below.
A new King of the Jungle gym
grins down at me and bellows
a Tarzan-like challenge to one and all.