Children’s playground. Five o’clock. Early fall.
Late summer, really, and the leaves just turning,
the light most beautiful before the day starts fading.
Three children on the swing, one mine. I am
Not there but still can picture how he flies,
Feet skimming air, head framed against the sky.
I did not see him fall. Time slowed, time stopped
As he hung from the bar like a branch
And his father could not catch him.
But was it too much daring made him fall?
In Ovid’s tale we see the father’s grief,
then the mother’s loss. I heard his screams,
saw his face a mess of blood, his lips,
clownish, swelled, his eyes, betrayed.
We thank God, any God, for what had not
been worse and wonder at our recklessness.
To throw this child, naked, into the world
and with him all our happiness.
He wears a scar as warning on his chin.