Following directions

after a long day of kindergarten

you were tired and hungry
but I needed a book and
took you in with me
while your brother and sister
waited in the car
at the checkout
you asked to go wait with them
in the van
I said
“sure – stay on the sidewalk”
you knew better than to play
in traffic at 5
you were far more mature
than other 5 year olds
from having older siblings
and the van was parked on the
sidewalk curb
I knew you would go straight there
to the back seat
lie down
and fall asleep
next stop: grocery store
for a gallon of milk
bottleneck rush hour traffic
heading off-island
cruising to the tunes
on the radio
ready to get the milk
and get home
thirty minutes later
me: “anyone want to go in?”
mallory:  “no”
marshall: “no”
ansley:
mallory: “ansley’s not here”
me: “she’s on the back seat
sleeping
don’t wake her
I’ll just be a minute”
mallory:  “she’s not here, mom”
PANIC!
the kind where you’re not sure
if your heart stopped or you
plummeted in an elevator
straight to hell
for your mom failure sin
you were not here with us
Barnes and Noble
Hilton Head Island, SC
someone found a little girl
and took her inside
turned her in to the manager
who took her
to the children’s department
where she recognized her former
pre-k teacher and
picked a book and
crawled in miss maury’s lap
and stayed cradled
in the comfort of words
as we flew
abandoned all fear of
speeding tickets
straight to you
red lights, slow zones,
out of control mother
plagued with fear:
will they take her away from me?
it was all an honest mistake

nevertheless
I abandoned my child at the bookstore
and was
on a mission to get to get you back

you
who did exactly as you were told
you stayed on the sidewalk

One Reply to “”

  1. Oh, Kim, what a narrative! My goodness. Every mother can relate to the moment you realized what happened. You said it so well here: “PANIC!the kind where you’re not sureif your heart stopped or youplummeted in an elevatorstraight to hellfor your mom failure sin”My heart did a skip for you, (and Ansley, too,) right here! Praise the Lord for the outcome!

    Like

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