Clove Lakes Park

If four-leaf clovers are lucky
Then Clove Lakes Park is gold at the end of a rainbow
The victory on a boulevard of childhood


If I could bottle up a scent it would be
Sunburnt, rubber-swing, tar-melt asphalt


We are told not to stare at the sun
But I stare boldly
At the metal slide
Do not fear blindness or scalded thighs


Somehow we are impenetrable
Nothing can touch us
Not the heat, not death, or the world’s cruelness


We climb upon statues in the park, become kings and queens of the mountain
Go to war against the armies of pigeons and swans, run them from the lawns


We watch the older girls smoke cigarettes and file their French-
Manicured hands
While the boys play basketball
We blush at their naked chests and hair and giggle, steal glances anyway
We want to become part of their game


One day the sun will grow too hot, we will be too old to fit in the swing
Our thighs will sizzle at the sting of hurt
       We will stare longingly at all the small faces and how they
        Have not yet learned to be afraid


We will crush cigarette butts and leave them to clog the sewer drain
Hope those boys won’t notice us, won’t catcall out to us
No longer fans of that game


I run downhill and wish for wings
That swoop out like that swan on the lake
For his long strides beside me on the way
To the drugstore as I count the cracks in sidewalks


I don’t know of objects to be lucky
But I know of places I’m lucky to call home


For the ways in which they hold our ghosts


I am told a home is just
Foundation, windows, doors, and paint
But I knew then as a child
Home to be the embrace


The paint peels in corners of this house
   Fades like memory at the passing of time
I catch glimpses of a girl sometimes
Little queen of Clove Lakes Park.


About the Author

Alise Versella is a Pushcart-nominated contributing writer for Rebelle Society whose work has also been published in Academy of the Heart and Mind, Circle Show, COG Magazine, The Courtship of Winds, Crack the Spine, El Portal, Elephant Journal, Enclave, Entropy, Evening Street Review, Grub Street, Neologism Poetry Journal, The Opiate, Penumbra Literary and Art Journal, Poydras Review, Press Pause Press, Ultraviolet Tribe, Umbrella Factory Magazine, What Rough Beast, Steam Ticket, Visitant, and Wrath-Bearing Tree, among others. She has recently published a poetry collection When Wolves Become Birds (Golden Dragonfly Press) and was nominated for Sundress Pub’s 2021 Best of the Net award.