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In the Playroom poem text image

The silver and bronze chessmen
wait to be set against one another,
next to Lego soldiers who defend their base
from giant robots while starfighters stage dog fights.
Facing themselves in an otherworldly mirror
like an alien monument to primitive gods.
While the slow whirr of the foot massager
comforts my mother as she texts her friends.
A big centerpiece, a shiny, often-out-of-tune piano
on which “Für Elise” was mastered in a month.
Opposite, a huge window with sunsets galore
and at night, I can make a game of
finding how many moths plaster the window.

When I am down, I can always escape over here,
away from all the excitement and hubbub of outside
and indulge in dear playtime and my own fantasies.
Ah, the sweet smell of fond memories,
of earthy, waxy incense candles burning,
fit for meditations at a Buddhist monastery.
And the moist lemon and herb tea,
as savory as a summer salad.
The spicy jalapeño chips contrasting
with the clean air of the heater
warming me while I type this on the Mac.
When stuck on writing, I chew on my comfort food,
cheesy, nutty, spiced crackers,
and feel the hairy fuzziness of the piano sheepskin cover for inspiration.
My favorite sound: Lego pieces falling onto
the smooth, polished hardwood, little souls
trapped inside and unable to help themselves.

William Chui
William Chui, 12
Mill Valley, CA