Small Ones

Location

Small Ones

Alarm clocks hum in melodic increments 
Within the uniform raised ranches
With the three car garages
The golden retrievers
And slightly wind-battered fences

The small ones awake to frozen waffles
Slathered in a sugary syrups
The television is on in the background
Announcing the news of the morning:

On this street and that street at 2AM
A man had been shot in his head
And
On that other street
An old building burned down, with not a single survivor
But
The sky is a clear crystal blue

The small ones are bundled and packaged
With their backpacks full up with
Books and
Pencils and
Pens and
Folders and
A tissue box for when the common cold season returns

The name brand sneakers are still white
And the hair gel has made their hair crisp
Their hands are not yet calloused
But their cheeks are still hot from August

Their laces are tied in bunny ear formation
Their eyes are sparkling and new
Their small voices make small conversation
While the television drones on:

On the highway twenty miles east
A woman was hit
By a drunk driver who delivered her death
And
In the town ten miles over
A lab built for meth had been uncovered
But
The sky is a clear crystal blue

The air-breaks announce the bus’ arrival
And the small ones gather in lines
The L-shaped seats still smell of small people sweat
And graham cracker crumbs still litter the floor

Their laughter is shrill and perfect and precious and
Their lips already Kool-Aid stained
With their eternally sticky hands stuck to the single paned windows
The small ones wave

They wave to their suburban neighbors
And to whoever made them their favorite lunch 
(Which is packed in a brown paper bag, signed with a Sharpie-drawn heart)
They wave to the sprinklers and roaring lawn mowers
They wave to their houses
With the three car garages
The golden retrievers
The wind-battered fences
The waffles
The hair gel that has started to flake off
And the televisions that continue on with:

On a boulevard and a side street
A woman was beaten at gunpoint
And
On the interstate under an overpass
A dead body was dug up
But
The sky is a clear crystal blue

And we wave back with our no longer small hands
Elated by their excitement
Crossing our fingers
That the small ones
Will grow into big ones
With their skies eternally clear crystal blue

 

F. Anna Roth

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