A Moment of Innocence

I approach the bayou pond.

A family of four stands blocking my path.

Grandpa, grandma, mom,

and a little girl

no more than eighteen months of age.

 

I rehearse my Covid dance.

Step to the edge of the sidewalk,

they will do the same.

Greet each other with a smiling hello,

and we’ll all move on.

 

Except they stand immobile

blocking two-thirds of the walkway.

 

Slowly and deliberately

the child takes a step forward,

then another, then another.

The family stands transfixed

as she heads my way.

 

Instinctively I bend forward.

“Hi.  You’re so beautiful.”

Her eyes entrained with mine.

By now she is two feet away,

leaning toward me,

“I’m sorry, I can’t hug you.”

 

The three adults come out of their trance.

Mom takes the child by the hand

and gently leads her to the side.

“If it weren’t for the pandemic,” I sigh,

“she’d be in my arms.”

Grandpa smiles his approval.

 

As we part company,

the child gives a backward glance.

Innocent of Covid,

all she wants is a hug.

 

 

Except they stand immobile

blocking two-thirds of the walkway.

 

Slowly and deliberately

the child takes a step forward,

then another, then another.

The family stands transfixed

as she heads my way.

 

Instinctively I bend forward.

“Hi.  You’re so beautiful.”

Her eyes entraned with mine.

By now she is two feet away,

leaning toward me,

“I’m sorry, I can’t hug you.”

 

The three adults come out of their trance.

Mom takes the child by the hand

and gently leads her to the side.

“If it weren’t for the pandemic,” I sigh,

“she’d be in my arms.”

Grandpa smiles his approval.

 

As we part company,

the child gives a backward glance.

Innocent of Covid,

all she wants is a hug.

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