sliding board 001
Wax Paper Slide
by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

Narrow streets of this town past
intersect a simple grid grown slow
to encroach on steadfast fields
of family names
but for a park named for one name
and the big bargain-buy building
and an upshot of sprawling vinyl siding
tucked in southern reaches to supervise
corporate fed manicured lawns.

On one narrow street found
red brick double-deckers form
a hobbled oval of life and limb
encased in egg-shell white interior
―grass painted 1950s kelly.
Once flat, kindergarten triangle roofs
search satellite skies.

And my heart fell at the missing
playground; even the basketball court
made way for a patriotic
plastic play palace.
A lone square of dirt marked
the drop spot
of the silver slide slicked
with Mom’s wax paper.

I reached
to touch the clothesline
cross pole where
David Ray climbed
that one summer,
sitting far above me
like some archangel singing
“Dock of the Bay.”

SOURCE: First published in The Holiday Café (July 2, 2014).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The sliding board at the housing project where I grew up sat about 15 feet from our kitchen door. This photo, circa 1959, shows me with my three older sisters. If you look closely the old wooden seat swing set is visible in the background. The single story units also in the background had slightly pitched roofs but the two story units (where we lived) had flat tops where assorted balls and Frisbees were held captive until once a year a maintenance man climbed up to toss them down to us children.


Wanda Morrow Clevenger
is a Carlinville, Illinois, native. Over 428 pieces of her work appear in 149 print and electronic publications. Her nonfiction “Big Love” was nominated for 2016 Best of Net by Red Fez literary journal. Her poem “When I Loved You” was commended by the judges in the 2015 Lost Tower Publications “The Double Happiness Love Completion.” Her debut book This Same Small Town in Each of Us (Edgar & Lenore’s Publishing House) was released in October 2011. Visit her magazine-type blog, updated at her erratic discretion, here.