Next to a sun-bleached toy house
scattered with cookware
scraggled dolls and a bag of empty cans,
on a dead end street with the same name
as the one I want to be on
a town and a half away,
I study the map and consider
how late I am going to be.

I think of nothing but eggs and coffee
and Somerville traffic.
But mostly I think of coffee.

She’s got big eyes
and two bitty stick arms
she folds over the open window,
“Do you know what street this is?”
and I am unsure if she or I am lost.
There is a bike behind her
wobbling on training wheels.

I tell her the name
as she studies me –
a big-girl with bracelets that jangle
in a car with a phone that shows the world
as a tangled up mess of curves and dots
and repeated street names.

She leans her pouty face in and says,
“A police man took me away from my dad
because he was being mean.
Now I live in that house there
with the red front door.”

I ask if they are nice, the people she lives with now.
She continues to stare at me
then nods her head, then smiles,
but only just a little
and only out of pity.

She shows me the basket
she made out of a shoebox.
She prattles about nothing,
and I listen
for some twenty minutes
until a woman appears at the red door
and calls her in.
She runs back towards the house, but
turns at the door and watches me
as I twist the ignition on
and pull away.

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