All our pretty sons on the playground
running in bright colors, their high, bright voices ringing out.
Now the slides, now climbing, now leaping from swings.
They’re wonder-struck at the sight of
a green maple tree spilling its magic,
waving its arms at blue sky. They are so little, the language
of violence hasn’t yet entered them.
Older boys haven’t yet taught them how to be cruel.
They touch the world with small hands
and are delighted—a xylophone bell
ringing a rainbow of sounds like concentric circles
cast by a pebble on the surface of a lake.
It’s late afternoon. We join the shadows of other mothers,
pushing our swinging children.
Little parabolas. They go higher and higher
into what seems an endless sky.
The enormous shadows thrown by our bodies
are us but not us,
like silhouettes of women moving behind white sheets
on a clothesline.
And now this evening before the solstice,
swinging our sons
and the shadows of our sons
suspended in midair.
We own nothing, not even our own shadows,
tethered as we are to time.