The Last Cheerio
When I stepped on the last fugitive cheerio,
on the last day that my baby boy
was in his high chair,
and dropped to my hands and knees.
Carefully—carefully!—I tweezed the tiny dust
from the fibers of the rug
and placed them in a tiny phial.
They were perfect for the experiment.
I took a tiny key to open a tiny safe
and, holding my breath,
unscrewed the top and tapped the contents
lightly onto one pan of the scale.
On the other pan I heaped
cheers and howls of outrage from the sidelines,
the careful counting
of bell pepper slices to arrive
at an auspicious number
before the big exam,
music recitals and presentations
and moments of reckoning,
the discovery of giving,
the times of trespass and
of both grace and grunt.
After a trembling moment,
the cheerio dust weighed more.
A line connecting my homes would be a scribble in the Pacific Northwest, a straight line to Albuquerque, and then east to Providence, as if someone were nudged but salvaged a checkmark.