Exhausted, fearing Mom’s slide
into another deep depression,
I stop in a fast food place to eat an egg sandwich,
relax and read before water aerobics.

Fifteen toddlers arrive from a nearby daycare—
singing, giggles, chatter, bouncing. Oh hell no,
I think, not now. Please.

They all wear the same T-shirts, deep aqua
of tropical seas, with a rainbow and golden sun.
Women accompany them, hand out crayons,
pages to color, large wide cardboard mouths
with handles to hold to their lips.

The children raise them, as if on cue,
and I swear they aim in my direction—
toothy, goofy, glorious smiles.