fall 2018 / Poetry 2018 / volume 49

Play Therapy—Jeffrey H. MacLachlan

One summer night in Savannah
my ceiling fans blinked black
so I sprayed my cellar
with a flashlight, stalking
a tripped fuse. Another
sweep illuminated men
with lips of liquorice
bits, grinning as if
recalling a prank
their father made
at their expense. They lowered
foreheads and charged
me with a toy chest
battering ram.
I instinctively stomped
their loose shoelaces
and screamed
they were imaginary, just
manifestations of past
sins, and they reduced back
into balloon ornaments. More
arrived. I raised my arms wide
and they all bloated with helium
but they grew wings that clicked
into place like umbrellas
and Play-Doh horns
inflated from their brows.
Then they reassembled
chins, stares, and noses
like faded potato men
to resemble earlier versions
of myself. We were ready to scrap.

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