when i am on the swings on monday


when i am on the swings on monday
i just swing up
on tuesday i swing down
and because the week is numbered odd
next monday will be down
and tuesday up
and so on as i please
all the mothers
frown at me
why must you be contrary
they ask
i say i am not
i’m single minded
very different from contrary
but the children ask how
how can you do that
just up
just down
how is that possible
do you do it with mirrors
and i say
i will tell you
if you keep it a secret
we’re not supposed to keep
secrets for strangers, they say
but of course we will
so i say
good, i do it by
not listening to any of them
then i point to their mothers
before they can answer
their moms gather them up
strap them in helmets
and body armor
stuff them into padded boxes
and carry them safely away
leaving me to
gather my mirrors
and go home
where i go in
but never out
where i watch the children
from my window
twisting and spinning
on the swings

—Don Whittington



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