Because children are, at root, awful,
my daughter has invented “Chicxulub”
because “Cheek-Shaloub” sounds funny
and because it’s an easy game:
she puts her friends into a group,
like strangers waiting for the H2 to Petworth—
stand here and pretend to chew grass; you, chase that one—
and the children obey.
She walks away—away away. Round the corner away.
It’s quiet; the friends amble. The chewer chews on.
My daughter’s gone; the time ambles on, too.
I stare at the corner. No one’s coming.
Then a scream—and I know how I’ve failed
how I never should have let her go and
never let her walk around that corner and
how I’ll never again eat without pain—
and here she comes, screaming, become meteor,
a roar incarnate, a flaming death,
a jerky trajectory of hair and arms toward the sedate group
into which she slams with gasping delight.
I know something of the way
a Yucatan theropod must have sighed,
looking up to catch the last beautiful sight of its life:
an onrushing light that would stop one world to begin another.