I have run holding my daughter’s hand
from a junkie on rockfall,
landscaped nature in Victorian surround.
His companion screamed and pounded him,
frozen Buddha in meditative trance,
as more compassionate people stopped to help
and I fled, thinking: no child should see this.
No child should watch a man inject a vein
with poison. No child should be exposed to vice.
Later I knew — none should ever see
a mother bolting from her own humanity.
But look at the swans! I said
pulling my girl past night beds
in underbrush, patterned blanket leaves
where hooded men slept, shaped for shadows,
prowling cats and pebbles tossed
threats toward my broken wings.
Muscle in the form of a squirrel
scattered small birds; we’re flying injured
refugees from landlord hearts.
See: here’s the ache of not belonging
and dusk rushing the garden’s iron gates.