Recess by Alex Rettie

Hartford, 1952

They’re ruthless, these children. When I have playground
Duty all I hear is, “Sister! They won’t
Let me have a turn,” or “Timmy Brady said
That Mikey Flynn runs like a girl and now
He’s crying like one, too.” Each morning playtime
Tortures someone until tears run down their
Face like prisoners looking for a place to
Hide. I do my best, Lord, to bring comfort –
I do my best to wipe away the stain of
Sadness, but it never goes away. It
Grows. It spreads like summer freckles. What have you
Done to them? How did they get so angry
And so cowed? I wish I had a wardrobe full
Of millstones I could tie around your necks.


Alex Rettie is a Canadian poet, songwriter, and book reviewer with poems published or forthcoming in journals in Canada, the US, and the UK.