our world

The painted black top

portrayed a multi-colored

map of the United States, faded and flaking

but for us it may as well have been

the whole world

when we grew too tired for plastic jump ropes

we walked for hours along the state boundary lines, we even walked

in winter and one time I slipped, hit my head on the ice, my vision turned as black as

the tar underneath

but I never like the nurse so, armed with my best friend, I ran back outside to dig

tunnels, deep along the backside of the playground, the idea was to get all the way to the

other side without the top caving through, the air was always sickly sweet

and we imagined there was a chocolate factory just across

the chain link fence

sometimes we played puppies right up along its edge, padding hands and knees

among the sparse trees, or tried to read the words written on the inside of the slide

the recess ladies said we were too young to call

the phone numbers