The woman in the glasses sits
skeleton and quiet behind the desk
of mahogany-carved gates of hell.
Her eyes like gray bullets
molten and shaped in hard cast-iron fire
crushed and pressed beneath the
silver days of youth.
The child in the ill-fitting shorts
lost and entangled in the endless enchantment of prose
Words will-o’-the-wisp wave forth wonders.
The whispers of bedeviled imps cannot
penetrate the fortress of this library.
The child in the pinched two-size-too-small shoes walks
up to the woman in the brown cardigan
Inquire further! reads the white card on the desk.
And the child leans forward and stands on painful tip-toe
but the woman gazes glassily through those scarred spectacles
and she pretends as if there is no one there.
Swings rusted red riding hood bloody
creak laconic and silent
under evanescent skies of blue.
A grip slips quick!
and slides from the seat
Blood fills the corners of
this fractured concrete.
Mama, hug me and kiss it better–
swaddle me in my infinite sorrow,
and i’ll do the same for you
clothe you in black instead of beige
When the children cease to hang from these swings.