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.


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