Swing Set

When I was younger

And the stars seemed far away

I used to revel in the gold encrusted words

Of my parents

I used to hang from their vowels

And dangle from their consonants

Like the playful swing that hung in the backyard

The one they used to push me on when the air was warm

And the flowers in bloom

As I grew,

And the words seemed less foreign

I no longer needed to be pushed on the swing

My toes touched the ground

And my tongue was capable of contorting itself

On its own

To paint the misshapen rudiments

Of a language far above my head,

Dancing high above in the clouds

I tried to swing high to grasp the harsh endings

But I would miss and plummet down

And my mother would heal the cuts from the sharp words

That greeted my fall

With the smooth and tender caress

Of a language well spoken

And broken in

It wasn’t until I was taller

That I could touch the words

On tippy toes

And pick them from the sky

And round out the edges to flow comfortably

In between my extensive dental work

Their taste metallic and unfamiliar

And mom was proud

But I had outgrown the swing

And the color faded from mom like the paint on the swing set

Tired and dull

From weather and age

It wasn’t until I was much older

Away at college

That the caustic ring of my newly crafted language

Rang unfamiliarly on my parents ears

For they no longer understood the escalation of tone around vowels

And the thuds of the overbearing consonants

Their hunched statures made it impossible for them to touch

my words, my language, my world.

And when I came home to the yard

A child in toe, clinging ever so tightly

To the language I had once emulated

I realized

Too late

The swing set had become disheveled

Fallen, and weak

A damage that could not be mended with the melodic caress of words

But only with the gradual rebuilding of a foundation


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