In the Playroom
Twisted tubes, snaking around the room,
Windows placed in the middle,
For little boys and girls to peek out,
So they can feel like they’re on top of the world.
Yellow, red, blue, and green on the floor
Soft padding for those who take a spill.
Ladders and tubes and slides and more tubes
This room is a child’s labyrinth.
I can only see your
Light, pastel colored shirts,
And light up sneakers
Turning a corner,
Scrambling even faster,
The minute I catch up with you.
I can only hear your laughter and
The thump of your hands and knees
Hitting the tube as you
Clamber through the obstacles.
Following you through the blue tube,
Crawling through a red tube,
The colors blur together
And the shadows in each corner
Grow larger and darker.
Laughter and giggles echo off the walls
But my heartbeat is the loudest thing I hear.
Heat rising off of my arms,
Cool plastic under my palms,
I yell for you to wait up,
That I’m tired of playing,
And that I need to sit.
But you laugh and keep going.
I pull myself up
But I’m already sick of this game,
Sick of this room, with the twists and turns.
When I force myself to turn the corner,
You three sit as if
You’ve been there all along.
You didn’t even break a sweat,
Outrunning me for what felt like hours,
Instead you’re relaxed
And giggling with each other.
You hold out your hands when I get close.
What’s the password?
You ask for the millionth time,
Ticking off five seconds with your fingers.
I slump against the wall and see you,
All smirking, laughing, and teasing.
But before I can say a word,
Before I can say the last password you had,
You say I’m wrong.
I look to the girl who had been my friend,
Before the other two came along,
But she just spreads her hands
And laughs alongside the others.
The Piano Concert
The walls echo
Turning, I see
Women, in their fanciest dresses,
Silken and Laced,
Men, dressed in tuxedos,
A sea of black and white.
The lights blink,
All of us waiting,
Whispering and murmuring.
Lights dim and
Our hands are brought together as
Someone walks onstage.
I see my teacher,
Black shirt, black skirt
Limp on her right side.
Bows, winces from the pressure
On her ankle.
She sits, bench creaking.
Applause diminished, we watch
As she adjusts, shifting the seat,
Moving left and right.
She sets her hands on her lap,
We take a deep breath in.
Her hands lift up to touch the keys and
We exhale as one when she begins.
The music swells,
Eyes shut, lost in another world
Or watching her hands dance,
The music flutters out,
Loud, stinging notes cut through
Creating equilibrium of dynamic.
The last crash of music
Her hands fly off the piano,
Velvet seats pushed back.
I clap so hard for her and
My hands sting, but it thrills me
Just to hear her play again.
Age 13, Grade 8
Hunter College High School