death poetry

Winter’s playground is closed for the season

If you were to look back through a hole at your life,
if it were like a kaleidoscope
when held to the light,
the days would fold
in on themselves
and combine,
and collapse
to form a frame
called “your life.”

In the morning how quiet the streets
on a Saturday,
an amphitheater of birdsong
with only me to listen,
the lake’s pale color the same as mine:
the moon just a sliver,
an inch or two of thigh—

And back home, up the stairs and down
again, moving from room
to room, remarking about last
night, what we could remember
of it was nice—

And me at the restaurant, pointing to the gas flame on the walls:
that’s what makes the mood
of the place I said, the light:

And I thought again, that image of me and my dad,
how I flickered in and out
and stood like him
so straight, like that flame,
how tall and bright it burned,
and bold:
but how quickly
it could die—

And the clumps of leafless trees in gray
and pink along the hillsides were like tufts
of hair growing on the old—useless

And in the morning I liked the sound of the dishwasher
for it was hands that were working, but not mine

And at night the slow ratcheting of frogs
conspiring to be more than themselves,
the sound of a mob that’s growing, that’s spring—

All those days run together to the bottom and mix,
you can do your best to boost them with force
like sand and water,
and for a time they’ll keep
their shape,
for a time
they’ll stand up,
but of course one day
they’ll combine too,
they’ll collapse
into a hole:
and that’s what it will look like at the end,
“your life,”
held to the light,

“Winter’s Playground” is the name of a children’s play area on the south side of Pittsburgh near where I lived in the early ’90s. I used the same name on a drawing I made of my first manual typewriter in ’96.




By pinklightsabre

Bill Pearse publishes memoir, travel journals, poetry and prose, and lives in the Pacific Northwest.

21 replies on “Winter’s playground is closed for the season”

Hi Mark, I guess I can draw but don’t. You made me think I should more! I did one of my old Volvo a couple years ago, and others from a while back. Would be neat to see if I can still. Gotta love those pilot precise pens, man. Thanks.


Ha, glad you liked it Austin thanks! I did one of my old Volvo I should dig up, too. Nice grill detail you know.


That typewriter got bent by the airlines flying from Spain back to the states and was never the same, kind is sagged on the side. Here’s to the Stoics. And to another day, of rain.


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