Want to keep reading?

You've reached the end of your complimentary access. Subscribe for as little as $4/month.

Aready a Subscriber ? Sign In

She's not the type that jumps off swings
But clings to the rusty chains and
Drags her feet in the wood chips to stop,
Squealing when I tease her by
Twisting close on my swing
I watch her dismount and
Step gingerly away:
I pump my legs and lean
Backwards way way
Way back so far my long hair sweeps
The ground and I look
Behind me and the world's upside down
Down down, or am I upside down
Then swinging up-up-up again and swooping
Downwards almost crashing
To earth but I don't, I just swing up-up-up
Again and I can see nothing but
The sky above me and the chains
Go slack and I am weightless for one
Lifting second, not sitting in the swing but on
Sky then forwards backwards
Forwards it's all the same, just
Glorious movement, twirling and
Tumbling around and a
Round, side side over–watch
The poles!–and
Circling again and again. dizzy dizzy dizzy then I
Realize the only thing preventing me
From flying is the chains so I
JUMP, leaving the unimportant
Swing behind in one soft blurred instant,
Jumping off swing and into sky,
Just sky and soaring
Off into air, only air
Around me, lifting me up-up-up
And I wonder, is this flying?
Nothingness becomes
Everything around me air is
All I am
Then ground is here, under me,
And I am running, one foot then
The next, helpless to stop, can't
Stop, just running. I
Stagger, head still, but
World spinning. She tells me I'm
Crazy, but I know better,
She is the crazy one-not jumping off swings
Denying herself that air-feeling
The instant when you lift off
The swing and just lift, rise-
You haven't fallen yet, you're
Going up-up-up and being
Dizzy doesn't matter
You are all
And sun in your eyes and
Life becomes nothing but
Simple happiness.

swinging nicole guenther
Nicole Guenther, 12
Vancouver, Washington

It's our anniversary! Use code happy50 at checkout for half-off annual print subscriptions!