I follow the grooves of the wood, tracing back, remembering how it felt to swing all on my own. Little legs pumping, six years old, lifting higher and higher, teetering on the edge of that warm pool of tangerine, balancing on the horizon. Falling into a dust of filmy white petals, a velvet daydream, shed by the tree that would bring winter to June.
I follow the grooves of the wood, tracing back, remembering how it felt to see my swing set torn down, kneeling small in remembrance of those little legs swaying. Crying as I watched, thirteen years old in a training bra, humiliated by womanhood. Missing winter in June, thumbing through those last days, swept away in droves of cream, sinking into that pool on the horizon.
I follow the grooves of the wood, tracing back, remembering how it felt to hear my father apologize while I cried among the playground wreck, to draw the rage of a thousand splinters summoned. Amid the anger I pitied him, he who had never slipped through white velvet daydream. And I pitied myself, I who would wear bras forever and never again make snow angels in a tangerine June.
I follow the grooves of the wood, tracing forward to these patterns familiar. Twenty-two years old, running my fingers across the desk where I sit. Remembering this token from my father, destructor of childhood, resurrector of swing sets, carpenter of desks. A reconciliation, an offering. Old playground wood reimagined where I sit and forget about womanhood, writing instead about my wintry summers learning to swing.
Biography: Carson Schulte is an emerging writer in the field of creative nonfiction. Her work has been featured in South Broadway Ghost Society, The Oneota Review, and Driftless Area Magazine. She lives in Denver, CO with her black cat and works in the youth behavioral health field.