A playground without children is pregnant with melancholy. This park’s remoteness is part of its charm. Up a hill surrounded on all sides by once well-maintained forest lanes. As the population dwindles and places fall silent pieces of my soul fall away. On the other side of a wire fence a high-speed railway runs, its rush the most recent sound to die. 

 I regard it all from my seat. Monkey bars and flying foxes and other equipment named after animals they only part resemble. An altar to youth on top of a grey-yellow dust to sorrow where the grass had grown. Someone in their frustration and anger at the passing of the world had to sabotage everything. Spurs carved into the plastic slides at switchblade edges and all but one of the swings shackled to the A-frame’s summit. My plan had been to come back with my tools and undo all the harm.

 Most of us long to relive some old dormant memory of our youthful joy. That is what filled my head when I tried the firepole. I didn’t think to check it for barbs. Now my arms grow tired, and my voice won’t even carry down the hill.

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