The Narrow Escape
Beth Roberts
During the station break, a memory
straddles a few lengths of space-time
and jeers. I try the picture:

an extreme blonde five (splayed hand), I covered
the eight blocks from school-home in self
preservation, the route a hydrant, the living

room a glued-up bone china reindeer.
Focus in: once a wide car sidled
up close, leaned over and said it knew

my folks and I'd have a ride home.
There was candy involved. I watched
the smile and wondered what kind.

As the smile opened slow and wide, inward
flew a raggy bird and its piece of sky, a million
trillium, cough against the forest floor, spinning

leaf, a rodeo, television mirrored
in a picture window, an expanse of ice,
a voice. I guess it was no, since

I walked faster in time to no, no, no, no
and overcame the hydrant as he pulled
away, sighing. I should have liked to

review him as plucked off by the rush,
but it was a small town.
Very small on its hill in the sky blue sky.