Memories of my hometown start on the playground—

brand new merry-go-rounds made me dizzy,

their confusing beginnings and unclear ends.

Rusty swings gave me bruises,

old green paint sticking to my yellow overalls.

Rustiness allowed evening explorations to take place

under bathroom LED lights, after mommy went to bed.

They say your body is a temple,

every bruise an apparition.

I deciphered different shades of purple

like ancient prayers, hymns, commandments

inscribed on my six-year-old knees.

Healing began when the blood was reabsorbed,

circulating all over me.

Blocked drain, full of hair, a remnant of my old form.

The new religion started at midnight

in a post-communist block of flats,

beside dirty laundry and a yellowing bathtub.

The janitor who forgot to remove rust from the swings

was my god.

Inga Piotrowska is a Polish poet currently living in Manchester, UK. Her first poetry book was published in Poland in 2018. She was shortlisted for The Bridport Prize in 2023. Her English poetry was chosen to be published in harana poetry, Wild Roof Journal, Eye to the Telescope, Thimble Lit and others.