The KIDs’ party at the soft play centre

The screams can be heard from the car park,

Piercing like someone’s being murdered,

Brutally, but it’s just kids having fun, apparently.

And then they charge us five pounds

To sit at tables, sticky with the residue

Of sweets and coke that sends them to the moon.

The sound is all consuming, cacophonous

As toddlers bump their heads and bigger kids

Run riot, not caring who they knock

With arms spread wide and socks all grey

From dust that gathers in the garish tunnels,

Never cleaned since opening in 1999.

We order food and sausages that swim in oil

Arrive on plastic plates with pictures of those dinosaurs

That kids all seem to love, but then there comes the cake

With sparklers pushed in sugary sponge,

A health and safety risk, among so many others.

Leaving feels like coming up for air,

The wall of sound fading as we skip away

With wailing children on our arms,

We promise we’ll be back one day very soon.