Where the child can be free
Shadows grow long down the street
that has mostly emptied by now
as the sun sets fire to only the tallest of trees.
The sound of the bell ringing is just lonely enough
to echo off the slowly darkening homes,
but not so much that it is alone to the ears.
On the east side of this street,
a woman hums tunelessly since no one else can hear
until she is reached by the joyful bell.
Setting down her knife
and untieing the strings behind her
she drifts to the warmth of her window
where now the duet of laughter joins
as child pedals in time
to the footsteps of his father.
She smiles to herself as her hands
rest softly on her stomach.
Across from her, on the other side
in a house with windows facing only street
a man with age far beyond his years
rests uncomfortably with a book in one hand
and recent memories in the other
barely reading by lamps so dimly lit.
He too is reached by the sound of the ringing
and finds it out of place in the melancholy air.
So he responds with a clap of his book
and slowly rising dispite himself
to wearily reach for the windowsill.
He replaces his memories with a phone
and carefully gathers his reasons
with a frown upon his face
until he, in raising to shake his head,
sees the face of the child anew
and the silence of the street.
The laughter rises to meet his ears
and his face begins to unclench.
The phone is gone from his hand
and the lamps, so dark before, have been lit
to illuminate his home.
Now returned to his chair,
sinking back to it with a gentle sigh
a new collage of memories,
and the smile shared from the house across.