Coming Out of Wal-Mart
The child, puny, paling toward albino,
hands fused on the handlebars of a new bike.
The man, a cut-out of the boy, gnome-like,
grizzled, knotted like a strange root,
guides him out, hand on the boy's shoulder.
They speak, but in language softer than hearing.
The boy steers the bike as if he steered
a soap bubble, a blown glass swan, a cloud.
On the walk they go still. Muzak covers them.
Sun crushes. The man is a tiny horse,
gentle at a fence. The boy's eyes are huge
as a fawn's.
He grips hard the orange and pink,
and purple and green striped handlebars,
smiling the fixed sweet smile of the sainted.
by Mark DeFoe
from The Green Chair. © Pringle Tree Press, 2003.
with thanks to The Writer's Almanac