There were nine little 
          germ spreaders
          taking on the house;
like marauding pirates,
          grabbing toy cooking tools
          and shouting WEAPONS!
they lunged at each other
          while moms and dads
          corrected or redirected.

Some were quiet, most were not;
          all were rushing, laughing, studying, 
          testing boundaries with preschool brains.
Naptime, and babies were gathered up;
          bigger ones taken by the hand
          and walked to waiting SUVs.
I saw one who had to be carried
          to the car, kicking and screaming 
          like a stranger had snatched him.

With the last car full, I thought
          it had been a great 
          impromptu party;
but the car was taking
          my grandson’s newest friend–
          it broke his fragile heart.

On an island of tender grass at the curb
          he exploded into grief 
          that shook every window on the street.
Without shame, he unleashed a torrent of tears
          and a deep soul, full of heartbreak
          as he screamed after her– ELLLLLA!!

My daughter turned to me and said,
          “If he was wearing his undershirt 
           I would have filmed it.”