Stagnant

Katie Holtmeyer

the rain had probably chased

everyone else away that day

but water only melts you

when you’re a witch

                                             or too sweet

and we were

                            somewhere in between

so we ran there

to the playground

spun around

and let the fragile sun in

the smell of summer on our skin

we were barely twenty then

but we didn’t let that ground us

we did all that we weren’t allowed to do as kids

               climbed up the slides

                               lay horizontally across two swings

                                              scrambled on top of the monkey bars

                                                                                                             to jump off

planted our feet on the plastic rocks

pushed off the teeter-totter

trust and metal holding us together

like we’d be balanced there forever

every time I walk by that park now

the graffiti stands out more than it did before

and the metal burns my skin

the plastic is tearing around the edges of the swings

and the chains are rusted

and I wonder if everything busted up so fast

or if it always looked like that

and we never noticed






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Katie Holtmeyer is currently in graduate school at Truman State University. Her work has been published on Pocketfire's Kindling. Katie uses she/her pronouns and can be found on twitter at @HoltmeyerKatie.