A toddler in a red jacket bends
down to pick something up in the street,
wind blown hair hiding her face, his face, I cannot tell.
The mother tugs hard on the little hand, come on, her lips say,
the child’s wrist and body follow with one backwards glance at the wanted thing.
The little red jacket stays with me, familiar, though I don’t think any of you had one. I do
remember a small purple sweater, an orange windbreaker, a green raincoat, but
the red jacket is all of them
all of you
trailing behind me to pick up a rock, a bottle cap, a feather,
my lips saying Come on, the light is changing, a car might come.
I failed to see, she fails to see
the wind-blown hair as magic, the
whole moment magic, the
little red jacket sacred; the scarf or the jewel in a Vermeer.
She is thinking of laundry and how dinner
will not make itself and the chaos
of bedtime before rest
But I watch, unseen, behind a rain-smeared windshield, the beauty
pinning me to my seat, helpless and heavy-limbed