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February 26, 2024

Play Date

By Terry Petersen

Daddy and Neighbor stood outside Daddy's car
and discussed the world.
Or "disgusted it,"
as Mommy called it.
Child tucked her dolls inside a seat belt.
Called them her best friends,
next to Carlita, her number-one "bestest."
Child pulled her favorite red cap
over her blond curls, and
waited for Daddy.

Neighbor swerved his pointed finger
from Daddy to Child.
"You allow her to have dolls
that look like that?"

Daddy yelled back. He said
Neighbor reminded him
of a half-dead fish preaching about life
from a polluted stream.

Child told Black Doll and Mexican Doll
it would be all right.
Daddy was taking them
to play with Carlita.
The noise should stop soon.

And it did.
But, the road got bumpy.
With lots of what Daddy called pot holes.
He looked mad,
and mumbled about how things
shouldn't be that way.

So, Child sang a song
to her dolls
she made up as it came to her.
About Carlita, and
about games anybody can play.

Daddy smiled.
That made Child happy.
'Cause the song was
really for Daddy.

Originally appeared in FOR A BETTER WORLD 2011, a yearly anthology published by Saad Ghosn in Cincinnati.

Article © Terry Petersen. All rights reserved.
Published on 2015-06-15
Image(s) © Terry Petersen. All rights reserved.
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