Creative Work

Play as Prayer

Wendy LeBolt

PLAY is the business of children —
Kickball, hopscotch and Twister.
Fresh air, sunshine, breeze,
“We won.” “You cheated.” “Did not!”
New teams. Okay, new game.

PLAY is the cauldron of teenagers–
Tryouts, cuts, starters, benched.
Coach says, “Do this.”
We do this so we can play.
Strike one. Strike two. Swing and miss.
Game over. “Loser.”

WORK is the play of adults–
Resumes, interviews, networking.
“Just get a job!” “What do they pay?”
“All this, for that?”
“Stop playing around and get to work.”
Play is a four-letter word.

When did play become irresponsible?
I ask, as I stand before the labyrinth,
an ancient form of prayer, a winding path,
an invitation.

Someone left a playground ball nearby.
I pick it up.
I dribble it…through the labyrinth.
I played. I played a prayer.

The adult said, “Don’t waste your time.”
The teen said, “Don’t dribble outside the lines.”
The child said, “Can I play, too?”

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