The teachers called it a “merry-go-round,”

But there was nothing “merry” about it.

Thick, aluminum spokes linked the squeaking axis

To wooden splinter seats.

Spinning was supposed to be a communal effort;

A group of kids down between the spokes

Pushing like convicts

In a mud path shaped

Like a binder reinforcement

While another group rode.

Then, everybody switch.

Instead, who pushed and who rode

Was settled

By brute negotiation and force.

It was not my choice for recess.

The sliding board required patience with small reward.

The teeter-totter was a collaborative ride

So I preferred the swings;

No one but me to decide

How close I arced toward the faded moon,

No conversation forced through

A transom of shyness.

I would dismiss with broad sweeps

The dandelion playground

Far below my Buster Browns.