And So That Is What Happened

The red bike leans
against the fence, red
like the ribbon lost
and the face of the man
who asks for directions
on a summer Sunday afternoon.
He speaks loud
and soft,
over the grind
and chew of the lawnmower
her mother pushes.

All red
inside this car – red seats,
red carpet soiled,
red rooftop even. The engine revs.
The hands
reach toward the girl
crouched low
beneath the dashboard – low
enough to see streetlamps slice
the tops of trees…

So much red tape,
and the plastic pen holder clogged
with rubberbands,
and the big book
of photographs, no two books,
no four, and so many faces –
it is hard
to remember.
And the flashing badges
offer their advice,
It would be easier
on her to let it go. Really,
just easier to let
the whole matter go.

All Day Long, They Wait

In the post office,
you hold them back
as you read your mother’s letter,
so full of praise, so full
of sweet wishes
that your father
could witness the changes.
And then again
when you almost leave
the dry spot of milk
from the morning
cereal – What if I never see them
again? You wonder. Oh,
these daytime dreams –
leave things as they are
in case everything changes.
But you wipe the milk,
and make the beds,
and arrange the pillows
still smelling of children’s hair
and that is when you see them,
the doe and fawn
by the last of the melting snow,
and she grooms softly
the ears of her child
and finally,
they come.