I Want to Play
I want to play like the bird
that plunges from sky into lake
and surfaces with beak dripping
with fish. I want to play
like ebony and ivory beneath the knobby
fingers of an old pianist,
home at last after a life in exile.
I want to play like my toddler son
once did, making friends of monsters,
tunnels of doors, secret rooms
of walls. I want to play
like the bumblebee bouncing
over my tingling skin
without ever stinging.
I want to play like Brandi Chastain
ripping off her jersey on the soccer field,
baring skin without shame
for joy. I want to play
like eyes that study the chessboard
with such care and skill
and still make the wrong move,
and laugh out loud. I want to play
like the leaves that turn their silver bellies
up to the wind, inviting rain. I want to play
like the magician whose sleight of hand
is so practiced, nobody wants to learn
how it’s done. I want to play like words
cascading down the page
in search of a soft place to land,
freefall of pleasure.
I want to play as if hard work never taught me
to forget how.
Play notes: I drafted this poem last month during an online class with Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, one of the finest poets and kindest people I know. Ruby Wilson and I featured several of her poems in Poetry of Presence, our popular anthology of mindfulness poems. I invite you to follow Rosemerry's prompt: Think of a repeated phrase along the lines of "I want to play," or "I want to sit," or "I want to dream." Then write a poem in which you complete this phrase, line after line, with images. As Rosemerry would say, lower your expectations and just have fun.