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Poem: Stomp 

(For JJ)

The kid's perched
on a rock wall
between the sidewalk
and a church—
two unsaid ends
of an invisible spectrum.
I picked him up
under his armpits
to put him there
as he bashfully
pretended to decline.

He looks to his right
face lighting up
as two ants wander the flat stone
shared by the six-year-old.
His sneakered foot twitches
before he moves to lift it.
"Don't," I warn
with love and firmness equal.
"But I like to squash them,"
he protests.

I hold the tip down
feeling his tiny toes
through the rubber
and tie his shoe
since he's unable—
a late bloomer;
a precious gem.

"We respect life," I tell him
doubling the bow for safety.

Our pizza's still warm
though we arrive
ten minutes late
to claim it.

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