I BUILT A PLAYGROUND
I built a playground where you can be alone,
like you like to be.
And I know how you like to play games
about time, so I built you
this special slide
that never ends—
you just keep sliding. Silly
how a life can move in one direction
for so long without turning.
I built you a doll
in case you don’t feel like sliding. It
isn’t beautiful, it
doesn’t move, but I trained it to say
your favourite words—stable,
empty, yes—over and
over, yes, I think
it’ll be fun. You can do
whatever you want: name it, hug it.
You could invite it into the slide,
but I guess that’s a commitment
you’d probably rather skip. Probably rather
play the priest—so here, I got you this
ceremonial robe. Thought you’d like it. You’re always talking
about spirits—here, it’s exactly
what the real priests wear, I know
because I stole it
from a real church’s closet.
It might be a little heavy
but I think you’ll feel nice
strolling around in it, declaring
what is evil and what is good, what is ugly,
what is ugly. You can point to things
and say what they mean
and that’s what they’ll mean. Yes, the nifty part
of this playground is
you can never be wrong.
You can call the sky
the ground. You can fall off the tower
headfirst and be fine.
The woodchips you will land on
are soft—I paid for the softest woodchips.
Mikko Harvey is the author of Unstable Neighbourhood Rabbit (House of Anansi, 2018). He currently lives in New York City, where he is the Joseph F. McCrindle Foundation Online Editorial Fellow at Poets & Writers Magazine.