Martha Rhodes

Evil Late Afternoon

Her biscuit in her hand,
soggy, crumbling, lifted again
to her cherub mouth, her little nubby teeth
working at it—the mother absorbed
in a text. The child crying suddenly,
her biscuit lost somewhere in the carriage,
the carriage jerkily wrenched back and forth
by the mother's left foot, the mother still
absorbed in the hateful thumbing away of a sentence—
yes, I detest the mother who sits across from me
in this detestable park, but
the baby I love, the baby lifted away,
by another, taken—by me? Childless Woman Lifts Child
from Tribeca Park After Bumping into an Old Boyfriend
at Local Whole Foods with Whom She Might Have Had a Child
Had He Not Been an Alcoholic Faulkner Scholar with Two Children
of His Own Who Lived in Elkhart Indiana and Didn't Even Remember
What He Looked Like— doesn't notice, her left foot still working the carriage.

Soon it will be dark.

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