Boys Being Boys

My first inclination was to jump up and run down the stairs and scoop up the boy,

quiet his wailing, and calm his crying brother.

I had been only half listening as they played on the sidewalk below my balcony

while I read the latest NY Review of Books, stretched out near the fireplace

toasting my toes, enjoying the homey afternoon quiet.

They had been laughing,  and hollering,  and perhaps riding a bike or a scooter

when suddenly one bellowed a distress call for everyone to hear.

I stopped before I began to run, realizing his mother would likely not like it,

some strange old woman with this ratty hair and these crooked yellow trifocals

scooping up her boy to comfort him.

Perhaps he is always dramatic, and she would want him to stop immediately,

no sympathy allowed.

Or maybe she would fear I had the virus, or some other crud that could infect him,

stranger danger avowed.

Whatever my hesitation, I let it take command, and I listened to him screech

as his voice wandered down the sidewalk, expecting she would hear.

He most assuredly found her; his shrill voice calmed slightly by a soft murmur.

I admit I chuckled slightly when I heard him SCREAM 


No doubt he had just noticed when she examined his scrape.

His brother was speaking urgently in the background, a scolding no doubt imminent,

warranted or not.

“I said I’m sorry.   I said I’m sorry.  I said I’m…”

Their  door shut.



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