On the Playground

On the Playground

I saw it first

from a distance.

It was bright red


and looked as if

strawberry jam

had landed on the boy’s cheek

instead of his mouth

in an attempt to lick the spoon.


As he played

with the children

just like him

but without a mark

of such misfortune

I watched

and hoped my young son

would not point to it

or make fun of the boy

who wore it so bravely

as if he were

just like the other boys

with soft and tender cheeks

who would go home

to their mirrors

and scrub their faces clean

without the shock

of what couldn’t be

washed away.


My heart fell

like a fumbled spoon

of strawberry jam

when my son came toward me

tethered to this boy

with one hand

pointing to his cheek

with the other.


All of a sudden

anxiety dissolved

like the large

temporary tattoo

of an apple

half washed away.



DeMaris Gaunt


Published by demarisgaunt

I currently live in Greenwood, Indiana. I love to listen to music, books on CD, podcasts or NPR as I work in my studio.  My favorite artists are Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper. I love poetry, but only the good stuff that isn’t so abstract I can’t understand it. Abstraction better lends itself to visual art, I think. Stephen Dunn is my favorite poet. He’s said just about anything that can be said about the inner workings of the heart and mind. My favorite novel is Atonement by Ian McEwan. My all time favorite band is The Cure. I love science, and anything that relates to how the mind works. I don’t believe in the supernatural. If I could meet anyone in the world, it would be Richard Dawkins or Steven Pinker. If you don’t buy my art or read my poetry, buy one of their books. It will enrich if not change your life.  My favorite things to do are hiking, kayaking and camping. My favorite food is so common, I’ll keep you in suspense (It starts with a P). I prefer chocolate to vanilla. Green is my favorite color. I have an aversion to planning or scheduling of any kind, and I live for spontaneous adventures! Telephone conversations make me anxious, and I avoid them at almost all cost. I had a happy childhood. I’m having a pretty fantastic adulthood. I have every intention of seeing my 100th birthday, after which I will happily relinquish my guts to the future of medicine. Cheers! ~DeMaris

One thought on “On the Playground

  1. My two youngest children have Down Syndrome. When we go to playgrounds, I become anxious about how they will be treated. Most often, the other kids are refreshingly kind and innocence. It is the adults who overreact out of ignorance who are most cruel.


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