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Slow Children at Play
Tony Gruenewald


I wonder how they feel
those children who come home to find
a sign that says
Slow Children At Play
sprouted in front of their house.

I grew up in a time before
before every Little League kid 
was trophied just for showing up
and know my arch-nemesis
of a junior high gym teacher
would have gleefully planted such a sign
in front of my house 
to further mock my 
hormone-ravaged coordination.

He would have unveiled a sign
in front of the homes of each of my fellow
"Slow Boy Relay Team" members,
holding press conferences to recount with relish
a litany of incidents demonstrating 
our appalling lack of athleticism.

And had we slow boys had access to such signs,
each of us, clinging desperately 
to our lower rungs 
on the adolescent ladder of brutality 
would have planted them 
up and down Crescent Road,
which for whatever reason 
seemed to have more than its share of 
a different kind of 
Slow Children At Play.

From The Secret History of New Jersey (Northwind Publishing, 2009)
Used here with the author’s permission.

Tony Gruenewald lives in New Jersey and works as an archivist for major media companies in New York. He's the author of two books, The Secret History of New Jersey, and Honk, and his poems have appeared in numerous journals and publications.
Tony claims to be "an unrepentant baseball geek;" he also enjoys hiking and road trips. Learn more about him at


Post New Comment:
Love it! I feel the pain!
Posted 10/24/2011 08:44 AM
You nailed it again, Tony. I will never read one of those signs without thinking of you.
Posted 10/24/2011 08:22 AM

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