The playground’s fake dirt pellets were warmer than I remembered.
Millions of tiny rubber cylinders of identical size, shape, and color
released a disturbing chemical stench.
Yet the children continued to play there
with ubiquitous plastic water bottles.
Trash that slobbered out of the overstuffed garbage cans
which were bolted to the ground with bulky locks and chains
to deter the Homeless.
A shiny new Satellite Station replaced the jungle gym.
And the bucolic pond and ducks were gone.
No breezes or kites or Frisbee dogs crowded Cellular Central,
where the fountain used to be.
The snake infested park benches startled me.
A hallucination fueled by multi-bench charging cords
dangling lifelessly.
I noticed shrinking mouths moving and thumbs grotesquely large.
A cellphone homunculus evolving
at my Riverside Neighborhood Playground,
now called Popular Wireless Park.

Selected byKaci Skiles Laws
Image credit:Kimberly McNeil

KIMBERLY  McNeil is a retired physician and Naval officer.  She resides in Florida with her husband of 32 years where she wages a daily battle with the contrived robots around her who are where they are supposed to be, not where they want to be.  She lost her only child, Dashiell Patrick, to a car crash in 2ol8.  He was 18 years old.