January 23, 2009
By Maggie Serafin, Long Grove, IL

He pushes the little red engine
across the floor,
siren noises filter through the house
as the nanny cleans and cooks
paying little attention to the kids.
She watches
while the parents work.
He pushes the truck to some imaginary fire
to extinguish the threatening flames,
or to save the cat that is, once again,
stuck up in the neighbors tree.

She dances in her new frilly tutu,
spinning wildly till she falls to the ground
quickly bouncing back up
feeling light headed.
She raises her arms above her head
pretending she’s onstage
playing a role in Swan Lake,
a student at the Joffery Ballet.

He chases the dog
holding the silver star
NYPD logo etched into its shape
yelling “you’re under arrest.”
Imitating people he sees on TV,
men dressed in black suits,
tough, heroic and strong.
The little boy laughs
finally apprehending his suspect.

She clomps through the house
in her mother’s black heels
six sizes too big for her feet
wavering with each small step.
Outstretched arms
her maintain balance
wearing a string of pearls
that hang to her belly button
and a purse that causes her
to lean toward the right.
Just like mommy,
a working woman
with a goal in mind.

Their parents tuck them in
exhausted from a 9 to 5 job.
Kids tug on their clothes
begging to play a game or watch a new trick
yet tiredness overwhelms them.
A quick bedtime story,
a kiss on the cheek
then the lights go off,
able to dream
by night light.

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