You won’t find him on your doorstep one day,
in wrinkled clothes, with weedy hair,
mirror-eyed, shuffling, having driven all that way
to say he’s sorry, to find out how it’s been
since then for you.
There’s no second chance, wherein you–
you who now inhabit your body fully
and mark its four corners with lit candles:
summon the east the west the north the south–
will loft the spear of virgin Athena, will say no
really loudly this time, will not be drunk, or high,
will know to kick him in the balls and run
beforehand, before he has the chance.
He will not do it again. And if he does,
he won’t be caught; don’t wait
for his name in the newspaper.
You will see him perhaps in the frozen foods
of some back-woods Kroger’s. His son
is picking out pudding pops
and they are laughing widely as meadows,
and maybe he’ll look over to you and nod,
ask after your mother, say it’s nice
to see you, never acknowledge it.
Dusk will blur the day you struggle
the lame shopping cart through;
you always get the one with the wallowing wheel,
that drags you sideways, askance from your car.
The clarinet warble of his son’s
pre-pubescent voice will swing over the lot,
making a melody, not uncomforting,
as it melds with the cart’s metallic groans.
Mary Ann Honaker holds a B.A. in philosophy from West Virginia University and a Masters of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School. She has previously published poetry in 2 Bridges, Harvard’s The Dudley Review, Euphony, Caveat Lector, Off the Coast, Zig Zag Folios, Van Gogh’s Ear, The Lake, and many other online and print journals. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts.