by Mike Soares
Slowly waking on the couch
tangled hair and vinyl babies
Saturday morning cartoons brokering
transition to busy afternoon.
My coffee in hand
her sticky maple-syrupped hand in the other
Among blankets in a couch cocoon
giggling at silly sponges and foolish starfish.
Morning ends and she will negotiate house space
among her older brothers
Asserting dominance in the rooms
Now a tea party
with stuffed bears and robots
Now a teacher, like daddy, her students
smudged plastic and beeping wearily with worn batteries.
Her frills and delicateness still alien to me
Her conviction and tenderness
compelling almost beyond what I can bear.
So much like her mother.
Her mother screams. Before I can even turn she is halfway across the neighbor’s
yard. The car pinning Abbie by its bumper, to her tricycle, on its side on the driveway.
Shaking, the teenager stumbles out. “I’m sorry. I didn’t see her.” Repeating. I ignore
him and hold my stunned daughter’s sticky hand. Too shaken to cry over the welt on her
leg, even now a reminder. Too shaken to thank ministering spirits standing against the
green hatchback. Who kept her when I could not. Until now.