Paradox

Photo by Emma Bauso from Pexels

She toddles down the street    alone  
all of fifteen months    how odd

I park, pick her up
walk a half-block back
to where she might live

a boy in the driveway    maybe five    thwack
of a hockey stick

a face in the kitchen window
when I ring the bell

a mother’s eyes welling          fear
sudden, real

pint-sized princess pulled from my arms

Thanks    flounders in her throat,
shark fins of horror and shame
silencing her tongue, can’t look at me now

thwack of a hand on the boy’s butt
him hauled inside
door slammed shut

No way around it—
to save the day
I had to ruin it.

This poem first appeared in The American Journal of Poetry in 2019. Many thanks to editor Robert Nazarene for accepting it!

2 thoughts on “Paradox

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