by Jonathan Fletcher
After the funeral of our former classmate, we
gathered at the playground of our old school,
where we once frolicked about as boys.
Struck by how small it now appeared,
we, though grown, surely looked the same.
O, what happened to those young men,
who propelled themselves down the slide
face-first, hung upside-down from the
monkey bars, backflipped off the swings?
Though too large for the wooden fort, tall for
the monkey bars, wide for the swings and
slide, we’re the size of children inside. No
longer the young men who raced up the
playset to be first, claim the title king
of kindergarten, we know this only now:
though told to give up chutes and rungs for
rulers and textbooks, all to help us grow,
we were never bigger than as those boys.
Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Jonathan Fletcher (he/him/his), a BIPOC writer, currently resides in New York City, where he is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing in Poetry at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. He has been published in Arts Alive San Antonio, The BeZine, Clips and Pages, Door is a Jar, DoubleSpeak, Flora Fiction, FlowerSong Press, fws: a journal of literature & art, Half Hour to Kill, Lone Stars, New Feathers, OneBlackBoyLikeThat Review, riverSedge, Synkroniciti, The Thing Itself, TEJASCOVIDO, Unlikely Stories Mark V, Voices de la Luna, and Waco WordFest. His work has also been featured at the Briscoe Western Art Museum.
This poem previously appeared in Arts Alive San Antonio.