Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Ethan and Lily, After School

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Off the bus, and a slow drag
up the driveway where all is spitfire
words grab at the air
launching daggers of demand and discombobulation
each so easily reeled in
with tears not far behind.

Efforts are offered to loosen
those coils so tightly wound.
Apple slices and bagels, a comic book
on the couch and the cushion of my ear
landing pad of my arms
slowly gears downshift
slowly the delicate pieces of who they are
assemble back into place
resume their natural order.

But look how the afternoon light lingers
how April's soft air of enticement
draws them out.
Through the window, I find the two of them
absorbed finally in some game
both on the same side now
running with bamboo towards the imaginary
enemy. In the grass, under the peach tree
they come to rest brimming
with jovial animation and chatter
he waves a stick aimlessly at the sky
on her lap the cat sits, closing its eyes with lazy content.

Bethany Rountree is a writer and a stay-at-home mom. Her work has been published in Western North Carolina Woman, Thick With Conviction, and Mothering. She lives with her husband and three children in the Black Mountains of Celo, North Carolina.

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