My brother and I grab hold of dangling metal chains fastened to schoolyard swings in this expanse of crabgrass, red dirt, goalposts, and hard bleachers, where he'd slapped the face of the sky with baseballs all those years ago, where I'd ducked every flying thing—small-town insults and countless foul tips.
He's 35, I'm 27, here in our hometown, deflated tire factory stuck like a rusty knife through the heart of Main Street, old-man bars slumped on every corner. Tonight we're too old for this swing set; no amount of darkness will hide it, too old and too heavy, him especially, with a pair of tree-trunk legs and a sloping belly. If he were so inclined, each night Mike could fold his hands atop his chest and sleep like a satisfied banker.
But we sink our asses onto the swings anyway. Hope and defiance loiter beneath the stars, we'll take our chances, because have you ever felt your own body fling itself into grace?
And remember when your car hit a dip in the road, made the descent, and for a few moments you could swear your stomach was lagging behind, weightless at the crest? That's us, with roller-coaster stomachs, toes reaching to touch treetops rising above basketball rims and broken asphalt.
That's us, a 450-pound package—forward, back, forward, back—trusting these chains to hold our bones, to lend us six buoyant minutes in a world bent on yanking every single thing back down to earth.
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