The mom who is doing the best she can and the little boy who was left in the van | Katherine Shehadeh

I. Sherry
Breakthrough rays ignite a furnace of light 
down a long night’s stop-and-go road 
where Sherry’s public transit odyssey 
leaves off with a screech-ridden stop.
Just beyond the golden archway sounds
the soft steps of the woman’s worn rubber 
soles, ending where another day begins.
Her shift starts with a swift punch of the
rusted metal clock and her empty stomach 
fills with a deep breakfast breath before
her first words Welcome to Burger King.
Her job isn’t much more than a candle
she hopes to transform to a torch, lighting her
path out of the broken-down car she sleeps in
with her toddling joy, a little boy named Noah.
Besides she knows her day’s soggy take homes
will fill his tumbling tummy at least 
one more day.
II. Noah
A bumbling bee zooms 
from the second he awakes,
taking off in a frenzy towards
a new day’s discoveries.
Into the school van he’s buckled
in tight to keep him from flying
off into the still-black night sky.
Riding along his route he drifts past 
the pre-K place a way ‘til he’s passed 
the dreamland state no one knows
Where is Noah? They ask too little, 
too late.
His buzzing is long gone
now heard only in his mom’s dreams
wishing at least to share the treat
of her soggy take homes at least
one more day.

©2021 Katherine Shehadeh
All rights reserved

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