Sneaking away from fourth grade

across the playing field

to the convenience store where

shelves of candy—all child-height and

shiny—lead you from mischief

into deceit. Your father

once ran out the double doors

and hid in a shady spot where books

and teachers could not reach him. You

have learned to ignore consequence,

to call being good by many

other names. Your father

used to drop worksheets on the floor

beneath his desk and wander home

with a clean conscience.


You, Henry, are indeed, my son, and

I am scared that you will get a C on

a report card four years from

now and, assume, just as I did, that time           

neither plods nor sprints, that teachers

neither care nor hate, that parents

will always forgive and childhood is

the playground where sorrows are planted far

too deep to ever cause us harm.