The Playground 

The mother took her son to the playground. It had a lime-green hill of new grass, a blueberry sky, a lemon sun, cherry-red monkey bars, a marmalade merry-go-round, and a raspberry jungle gym. A brawny youth with bad hair was pushing a bloodless face into the sand below the monkey bars while others cheered in ecstasy. Not long after he was chasing a girl and lifting up her skirt to the sound of more cheers. What is this? the little boy asked, feeling cold as if gravity itself had run away. That, my son, is the organizing principle of the world. It will be like that where you work, where you play, where you vote, and where you pray, the mother explained. When she looked over, her son was taller, maybe even stronger, but it did not matter, for it lasted but a second. She was walking away. The youth gazed at the brawling and shouting, at the radiant machinery of play, chewing a piece of straw, whispering one question to nobody in particular. Where should I go? The wind and the emptiness heard him. They spoke of other places. Rusted old libraries. Museums of copper sulfate. The tarnished squares. The ashen junkyard. The black woods and fields. 

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