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by
Kathryn Guelcher


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I have asked my children to stay four-year-olds before. 
Just for two years, maybe. 
I ask nicely, but so far,
no takers.
For once, I had been shopping
without them and the checkout
seemed otherwise mundane.
The son in front of me
with his parents was a grown man
but
his thrill regarding his purchase
of toy Matchbox car sets
was dignified though barely contained.
Reluctantly, he placed them on
the conveyor belt. Impulsively,
he seized them again,
held them close, put them
back at his father's gentle nudge.
When their boy removed his glasses
to rub his eyes (itchy, he said)
he replaced them over the grey hair
of his temples.
His mother handed her son the bag 
to carry. Tickled, he peered in and
confirmed the inclusion of a fuel truck.
Toward the exit
the son clutched the bag in one arm
and in gratitude wrapped the other
around his elderly mother who
accepted it
familiarly.
 
I had been shopping without
my children, for once.
 
© by Kathryn Guelcher.
Used with the author’s permission.
Purchase a framed print of this poem.

Kathryn Guelcher teaches high school English in a suburb outside Chicago, where she begins each class by reading a poem, looks for grants that will allow her to bring poets and other artists into her classroom, and organizes poetry workshops for her school district. "I once listened to an NPR interview with then Poet Laureate Ted Kooser," says Kathryn, "and it absolutely changed my life." She is married to a man she describes as "hilarious and bright" and has three "curious and loquacious" children.


Post New Comment:
mcunat:
Your brother Kevin shared this link with me. Wow, am I glad.
Posted 05/10/2014 06:44 AM
mtayl2:
Well done sis. Almost made me cry. Keep at it...proud of ya.
Posted 04/20/2012 12:12 AM
jmv:
Beautiful, moving poetry.
Posted 04/19/2012 10:04 PM
LindaCrosfield:
That's just beautiful, Kathryn. And would there were more teachers who realize the importance of poetry in the classroom. Kudos!
Posted 04/19/2012 03:37 PM
dannovakowski:
Kathryn, You do NOT look old enough to have three children in that picture!
Posted 04/19/2012 01:54 PM
Buckner14:
This poem breaks my heart--as it should. I appreciate the fact that you gently and gracefully--and tenderly---- indicate the son's situation. (I have an autistic daughter and know many adults and their parents who have experienced much the same....The beginning and ending are perfect.
Posted 04/19/2012 10:25 AM
KevinArnold:
Linebreaks, or in the case of the first line, no-line-breaks, absolutely make this poem. Such attention to the needs of this poem, this line. It makes me re-think my love of predictable couplets or quatrains, which possibly favor form over function. The Bauhaus group taught us this is never a bright idea.
Posted 04/19/2012 08:08 AM
George51:
That is excellent.
Posted 04/19/2012 04:04 AM
George51:
That is excellent.
Posted 04/19/2012 04:04 AM


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