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Not What It Seems to Be

By , Madison, WI
My backyard.
It could be anything we wanted it to be.

It was a pool of glowing rust-colored lava, spitting and popping hot goo,
Pulsing with the evil of the lava monsters that smelt like ignited rubber.
We would plunge over the lava on small rocks, and if we landed in lava…
Well, the lava monster named John would get you.

It was the sky, blue and endless with dark-slate storm clouds nearby.
A fragrant rush of wind brought the smell of the rain and puddles,
Tickling our faces with promise of a storm and whistling in our ears.
In our flying machine we soared around the clouds, heading for a distant land.

Sometimes it was an asteroid field in deep space, a place even darker than night,
My little brother clenched the steering wheel with his sweaty hands.
He swerved the steering wheel to the left, to the right,
Always just dodging the asteroids that crashed together like battling monster trucks.

My favorite was the dull-green pine forest, full of the mystic woodland warriors.
We carried with us our bow and arrows, our swords and spellbooks,
Shrieking with alarm at the cry of a snapping twig.
Searching for some hidden treasure in the midst of it all.

In reality the small rocks above the lava were muddy off-white beach towels.
The flying machine and space ship was a grungy, decaying play structure,
Made of only a slide, a wood platform, two swings, and a plastic steering wheel.
All the mystic pine forest was made of was a lone cedar tree, and woodchips.

Ironic how I remember actually jumping over lava,
Flying among real rainclouds in the sky,
Dodging actual asteroids,
And exploring a vast woodland.

…not a broken down kid’s structure.





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