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 who now pursues her artistic interests, namely poetry and self(-ie) digital photography. She lives happily in southwest Florida with her husband of 34 years but misses her son, Dashiell Patrick, who committed suicide in 2ol8, just days before starting college.

 Favorite poem, “Alone” by Edgar Allan Poe.