Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Penny Horse

No comments

It's not for apples, though
that is not a bad idea.
And I haven't been sent for milk

or eggs or flour. In fact,
I am list-less, but accompanied
by my four-year-old son

who perches on the lip of the cart,
which he insists is not a cart,
but a train, a boat, a motorcycle.

I throw a few items into its saddlebag,
so as not to seem suspicious:
a bunch of bananas, a bag

of coffee beans, a bar of chocolate,
so that we are not empty-handed
as we approach the check-out lanes.

No, I do not need any help, and we
are in the lobby and in the corner
is the reason for the trip:

I hand him a penny and lift him
up, watch as he straddles it,
drops the coin into the slot.

Watch as he urges the beast forward
and faster, digs his bony heels
into its sides, watch and they are through

the sliding glass doors, crossing
the parking lot, and I am left
alone, desperately clutching my bags,

nodding my head and humming along
to the song of a horseless carousel
playing Rossini's William Tell Overture.

A graduate of Spalding University’s MFA program, Matthew Vetter’s work appears online in Semantikon, Public Republic, and American Life in Poetry. You can access more of his poems at or read the blog he shares with poet Jill Kelly Koren at He is father to Ben (6) and Jonah (3) and lives in Morehead, Kentucky.

More from

Comments are now closed for this piece.