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  • I walked through the park
    passing through
    on the way back from here to there
    the long slant of late afternoon sun
    hot on my face
    strong on my shoulders
    my arms swung loose
    my thighs burned from boxing training on Saturday
    full of joy with the day
    so brightly, warmly, achingly alive

    Families lingering
    stretching the early summer day
    grateful after the chill and wind
    a ponytailed father set up a rugby ball
    balancing it so carefully in the rough grass
    his little boy, maybe 4 or 5
    waited, just a little distance apart
    the father kicked the ball
    the boy’s hands hung slack at his side
    the ball took him in the middle
    folded him like a deck chair
    doubled him right up
    in four steps the father was his side
    neither one knew whether to laugh or cry

    In the same instant
    a boy clung to the middle rungs of the jungle gym
    calling for his mother
    calling to be let alone to do it by himself

    It all hung in the balance there in the park
    suspended, ready to tip
    a nudge, a whisper, the slightest breath
    I too paused
    where it might fall
    where it might go
    and suddenly
    there in the park
    I knew
    not what or how
    only a light and sheer sense of knowing

    And just like that I wept
    tears streaming down my face
    as I walked through the park on a sunny Sunday
    past the guy sprawled on the lone bench
    past the guy eating KFC for two on a blanket by himself
    past the tipping point between joy and sorrow
    through the golden light all flecked with jasmine and bright with laughter and tears
    through the times and seasons
    and all of us there in the balance.
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