I’m standing there, looking

at my old grade school’s set

of monkey bars. I can touch them

with my forehead. I almost do,

hoping to go back.


But I start to sink,

alternating legs, by inches as

I walk. I run and still sink,

feeling more than hearing

the laughter of the child,


grown giant underground,

grabbing hand-over-hand

at my moving feet. I reach

the sidewalk slogging mid-thigh

through earth, and lose both shoes

as I pull myself out.


Once should have been enough.


Mark Henderson

Mark Henderson is an associate professor of English at Tuskegee University. He earned his Ph. D. at Auburn University with concentrations in American literature and psychoanalytic theory. He has poems published or forthcoming in Cozy Cat Press, From Whispers to Roars, Defenestrationism.net, Bombfire, Former People, Neologism, Broad River Review, Rune Bear, Flora Fiction, Flare, and Visitant. He was born and raised in Monroe, Louisiana, and currently resides in Auburn, Alabama.

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