by Susan Winecki
A Saturday morning stroll. I stumble upon a pack of teenage girls, shooting baskets on a nearby playground. Drawn by their shining bodies moving over steaming cement like shooting stars across a breath-stopped night, I lean against the cyclone fence and watch. Transfixed by tangled, mist-covered limbs, arms, hands bobbing up an down like buoys on a windy sea, I stay. I stay for the smacking of overheated flesh making contact with its own kind. I stay for the grace and grit of these holy innocents who still know freedom and fairness. Those firm bodied teenage girls were love-filled, beauty-filled, wild-filled. Steam rose, sweat dripped from them into tiny cracks on the cement floor. The earth claimed these unfolding lionesses as their fast-moving limbs moved in concert with one another – reaching, squatting, falling, landing, twisting, arching, pivoting, soaring. I stay for that and pray that they will never stop warming the air around them, setting fires on sun parched playgrounds, breathing with a vengeance.