The Old Playground

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,, 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.


Forgetfulness runs in my family. My brother, the original absent-minded professor, offers me a ride home. “My car’s not far away,” he says, “I’ll be right back to pick you up.” We part outside the Fine Arts building on the campus where he teaches. I wait, and here he comes… and goes, right past me. His car disappears down the street.

Oh well, I think, he’ll remember eventually. And he does. Soon, his car glides up and he rolls the window down. “You’ll think I don’t love you,” he says, “but I came back as soon as I remembered.”

Forgetfulness often involves cars. I have trouble remembering where I park, so I have a system. When I go to a familiar place, I park as close as possible to the same spot each time. When I can’t, I’m grateful that my key has handy buttons that make the horn honk. But in the parking deck today, I wander around my favorite spot, looking for my car. I press the “lock” button until I hear my horn. At least, I think it’s my horn. It does sound a little muffled. I walk on, and the sound recedes. Have I passed my car? I retrace my steps, and it happens again. Finally, I realize I’m on the floor directly above my car, and hear it honking when I pass over it.

I’m not alone. I approach my grocery store entrance and meet a woman coming out. She pauses, looking back and forth, “Now where in the hell did I park my car?” she mutters. Perhaps the fault lies in our cars and not in ourselves.

Water is almost as bad as cars for provoking forgetfulness. After boiling two pans dry, I give up and buy an electric kettle that turns itself off.

I’ve had plumbing-related floods in two homes, so I’m instantly on alert if I hear water running. Today I start a load of laundry, go upstairs, check my email, take out the trash, then happen to walk through the hallway by the bathroom. Then I hear it, the telltale sound of water in the pipes. I wiggle the handle of the commode; it’s not the problem. I run to the basement – no water there – then to the first floor powder room. Mystified, back in the kitchen, I finally remember my laundry. The rinse cycle has started.

I console myself that forgetfulness is common. Else, why would they sell electric kettles? Why would my friend Marlene wear a necklace that says “I Can’t Remember?” I’ve even seen packs of gum labeled Instantly Remember Where You Left your KEYS – intense memory-stimulating mint gum.

Did I mention that forgetfulness runs in my family?


Sandy Fry

Sandy Fry is a writer, photographer, traveler, and lifetime art student. Past publications include Minerva Rising, Number One, StoryNews, Dreamers, and an essay in the ‘Your Turn’ column of the AARP Bulletin. Her photographs have appeared in Minerva Rising, Unearthed, Oyster River Pages, and The Longleaf Pine, as well as in the Light Space and Time online gallery.

Tawnya Gibson


Tawnya Gibson

Tawnya Gibson is a freelance writer and photographer. Her love of photography started young, with a Kodak Ektralite camera in her youth. She is rarely without a camera in hand, ready to document life as she sees it. Though a trained journalist, she has in recent years changed course, combining her arts education from Utah State University in both writing and photography to tell the story of the intermountain west where she lives and the southwest where she was raised. In her work, she places importance on photojournalism and being able to tell the story of those people and objects who inhabit the earth, both past and present. Her strong use of color and knack for seeing the beauty in the everyday and sometimes forgotten has made her work stand out in local showings. She currently lives and works in the mountains of Utah, but her New Mexican roots still bleed through her work.

Listed at Duotrope
Listed with Poets & Writers
CLMP Member
List with Art Deadline
Follow us on MagCloud