War Play

Presidio Park / San Diego, CA /​ ​July

Under papered eucalyptus, the trail shifts
boundary lines. Long trunks

sever air into strips where a splatter
of kids in noisy T-shirts hurl

shouts & bandanas toward the capture
of flags. I run through them like a horse

in a gauntlet, streaming & crashing
into & out of the clearing, into & out of

make believe. I break believe,
and they let me, because I split through

a forgotten side. Outside and its infinite
prayer. Inside a crease of pleated city,

foliage exacts minutes from the onslaught
of sun. Shade spills from bodies onto asphalt.

Jen Marshall Lagedrost