Today’s prompt was to churn up moments from the past about healing. This one’s a Pantoum for my 27 year old daughter Ansley, who jokingly recalls the day her mama abandoned her in the bookstore. Thank God we can joke through all the “coulda been.”


it was all a scary mistake
abandoning her at Barnes & Noble
she asked to go to the van as I checked out
she said she was sleepy

abandoning her was my fault
I told her to stay on the sidewalk
(we’d parked on the curb) but she was sleepy
she was supposed to stay on the sidewalk to the
           van parked straight out front 

I said, “stay on the sidewalk” because the van was
            ten safe feet from the door
but she followed my only directions
she was supposed to go to the van
but as I drove away she stayed on the sidewalk 

she did what I asked – but never made it to the van
she wanted to go nap in the van on the third seat
but as I drove away she stayed on the sidewalk
it was all a scary mistake 

I had a meltdown when I realized I’d left her
I’d stopped for milk and bread at Food Lion
I called to wake her but her siblings said,
           “she’s not here”
she wasn’t there – I’d left her on the sidewalk 

I’d stopped for groceries 20 minutes away
I called the bookstore: “yes ma’am, she’s here”
I’d left her on the sidewalk
her pre-K teacher worked evenings at the bookstore 

“yes ma’am, she’s safe in the children’s section”
TOTAL MOM FAILURE! would DFACS take her?
Miss Maury was reading her a story
my meltdown shifted from panic to gratefulness 

I’d failed her – but she’d known exactly what to do
I’d called out to wake my four year old who wasn’t
panic turned to peace when I got back to her
I’d unknowingly abandoned her and we’re still
           healing 23 years later

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