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James P. Roberts


Waterloo, IA, US

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James P. Roberts

I see his face through the window
and know he has come to take
the children away again.

If I open the door, he will step
inside, his Martian face glowing in triumph
at having beaten me -- again.

But if I refuse to let him in
as the paper he holds says I must do,
what horrors will then ensue?

In vision, I see him hiding
in his car while the children play at school.
Waiting. Waiting like a thick spider.

Then he scuttles across the leaf-strewn playground,
fingers stretched to claw and grab
fur-lined parkas and thrust my babies

away from me. Oh, it has happened before,
I know, but always to someone else.
Now I understand their quivering helplessness.

Cowering before the monster, I slide back
the chain and open the door
(a rush of wings fans my face)
smile and say "Hello, Frank."