The Last Cheerio

When I stepped on the last fugitive cheerio,
on the last day that my baby boy
was in his high chair,
I stopped
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.

Years later,
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,
scolding fingers,
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.