She wore yellow dungarees, the colour of irony
and they clashed with her eyelashes, spiky with tears.
She had onion-skin hair, and a limp ponytail
that hung from the top of her head
like a rope.
But to us she was loud metal, clanging above our heads
as we crouched under the climbing frame.
She was the reason our stuffed animals felt softer than ever,
our milk sickly sweet with potential loss,
and our necks suddenly so bare.
We saw a lollipop scowl and a tongue that stuck out,
A threatening mustard kid, dusty knees like in the movies,
and we indulged in our raised heartrates,
cradled and stroked and whispered to our toys;
our insides felt sore, excitingly bruised.
She left an echo of palms thrumming the slide,
ghostly handprints and a smell of threat,
that accentuated our tender comfort.
And her hair hung down, tapering at the ends
but nobody climbed. Nobody climbed at all.