Poem-in-my-forties 1

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

with memories.