But why, Daddy?
Well, sometimes it is just time to go;
There are, after all, things in life
Aside from swings and merry-go-rounds,
And, even though there is no small amount of appeal
To staying at this playground (it is one
Of those late September days where the sunshine
And the southerly breeze belie the harsh truth
Of the hundred days of hard winter ahead),
There are limbs divorced from dead trees
To move to the brush pile, birdseed to be swept
From porches to deliver groundhogs and squirrels
From temptation—any number of chores
To be done, lists to be checked.
But, Daddy, why?
He thinks out loud that a three-year-old needs a nap,
But there is more to it, certainly;
This is one of those old school playgrounds,
The ground beneath swings and see-saws covered with gravel
Which, in the mere instant it takes to look away,
Can bring forth screams and a virtual river of blood,
And beyond the schoolyard, back roads with crumbling berm
Where some drunk potentially careens around every corner,
And yet farther off still, dark hills as old as time itself
Where rattlers lie just off the pathways, and coyotes and bobcats as well
If you believe the stories the old-timers tell,
And apropos of nothing in particular, the boy yells
I don’t love you!
Yes, but I love you, and the child looks up
In pure bewilderment and mute incomprehension
That such a thing would be a possibility
In the face of such pure determination and fury.