It Can Happen Just Like That

The text came from my oldest child, away
At camp, seven weeks as a counselor,
I have the night off and a ride both ways,
Will be leaving for home at 5:00, he said
Oh Good, we will order pizza, I reply
Me, his mother who is surprised
At his seeking, embracing so much
Responsibility, this young man whose
Bedroom floor is no longer discernible
From Sanford and Son’s scrap yard
In charge of the comings and goings of
So many other boys enjoying the same
Accommodations and lackluster food
The camaraderie of shared experience
My husband leaves to be somewhere
With our middle child, after I had hoped he would
Stay so we could all be home together, but he leaves
And his large silver SUV pulls away from the curb
The youngest, bored and lonely for his brothers,
Waits in the driveway shooting basketballs
His new hoop, anticipation mixed anxiously
In the secret missing he feels in his older
brother’s absence, I wait less steadily
For my first born’s delivery by the 17 year old driver
Who had to see his girlfriend, and maybe
Speeding on those curves of the northeast
Iowa bluffs to get a few more minutes
With what could be the love of his life
My son simply along for a ride home
These thoughts make me abruptly stop
Before removing make-up, just in case
I would get the call, not vanity, strictly
Preparation for what could happen
I do this to ready myself for the worst
It is such sweet relief when I am wrong
In these times of assumption, my husband
Insisting this makes me crazy, or at least
Morbidly negative, but I point out my necessity
For doing this is insurance against being brutally
Shocked by instantaneous personal disasters
On the driveway, oldest and youngest dribble,
Dribble, shoot, miss, dribble, shoot, joy with the swish
These two lovely in their simple comfortable play
Watch how fast I can dribble mom, he happily chirps as
He propels himself down the drive, towards the street,
Feet scurry to keep up, the ball moving out of his control,
And there, in the absolute corner of my eye that is not
Intent on his motion, a mini-van, teal blue approaching
In perfect unison with the legs and arms that are trying
To prove their worth, my vocal chords strangled in guttural
Terror scream his name without my conscious direction
Teal blue van gorgeously bouncing to a screeching halt
Silver SUV not blocking the view of a child bolting down a driveway
My sons safe, and all the vehicles driven by hands
That cannot cherish them, will keep driving down our street,
And giving them rides here and there, and my heart knows
My husband is correct, leaving my make-up on won’t
Protect them from all the things that can happen…just like that

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