Tania Rochelle


Focus on the spiked wooden fence
that circles the playground,
on the giant plastic slide
with the long dark tunnel; have faith
that whoever slips in
slips out again unchanged,
that the swings are chained tight
to the overhead post,
that the big kid
pushing the merry-go-round
is kind, and the dog
bound for the ball
in the little boy’s hand
won’t bite. Focus,
from the passenger seat
of your husband’s parked SUV,
through the window
permanently smudged
by your daughter’s breath,
through the messages
she scrawled weeks ago:
Wash me, LC hearts JB,
reappearing as the glass fogs.
Focus on another family’s
father, grilling burgers—not on this
man beside you, now unraveling
a thread that turns
your last ten years to fiction,
who chose this place for his confession.

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