The Playground

By Nels Hanson

God Isn’t, Is, philosophers’
old dilemma children learn
from tearing petals from a
cabbage rose. Bones yearn
at last for darkness, Spirit
for light and rocking seesaw
refuses balance in between,
carpenters’ bubble trapped
in a level. We climb slide’s
tall ladder, rush down to rise
again, swing high almost to
one cloud, arc always back
at land. Next we flap arms
for wings but feet like heavy
centaur’s hooves still strike
the patient ground. And so
we try the row of rings, legs
dangling in air, both hands
grasping halfway to heaven.
An instant the round world
will tilt and horizontal feign
the vertical – for two breaths
ascending line of O’s leads
straight to paradise. We race
to outrun racing wind, leave
our chasing shadows bound
to Earth forever, like circling
birds now well aloft aiming
hard at the yellow-gold sun.

Playground by Matthew Paul Argall

“Playground” by Matthew Paul Argall

Nels Hanson has worked as a farmer, teacher, and contract writer/editor. His fiction has received the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award, has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes in 2010, 2012, and 2014, and has appeared in Antioch Review, Black Warrior Review, Southeast Review, and other journals. His poems have appeared in Word Riot, Oklahoma Review, Pacific Review, and other magazines, and are forthcoming in Sharkpack Review Annual, The Straddler, Revolver, Stoneboat, Meat for Tea, Insert Lit Mag Here, and The Mad Hatter’s Review. His poems in Outside In Literary & Travel Magazine and Citron Review have been nominated for 2014 Pushcart Prizes.