“Playground” by Teresa Mei Chuc

Teresa Mei Chuc


Happiness is a ball after which we run
wherever it rolls, and we push it with
our feet when it stops.
          —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The tank was the color of desert sand,
it rolled by like a slow-moving beetle
and dropped a glove gently to the ground.
The glove was a baseball glove.
A few boys huddled around
and one of them picked it up.
Inside the glove was a metal ball. A glove and a ball.
Another boy suggested taking the ball apart
and selling the metal pieces.
The boys began to hammer it.
One of the boys held the ball in his hand
and threw it against the wall.
The ball bounced back and exploded in his abdomen.
The dead boy was brought to the morgue.
Women gathered to identify the mutilated body.
The boys who survived walked around with furrowed brows
and a deep silence that only such shock could induce
surrounded by wails—a room full of people without furniture,
drowning in a sea of sand, sand they had believed held water.

from Rattle #36, Winter 2011
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