Sidewalk Chalk

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The sidewalk chalk chips its way
across the driveway in the directionless
line of our adopted son who holds it tight,
as if to mark each moment in powder.

One at a time he picks from the bucket
colors that are difficult to distinguish
pale yellows, whites, and purples. Particles
which wash easily from preschool clothing

and turn a toddler’s scabbed knees pastel.
Hues that merge like memory when wet.
He pauses to draw a circle with eyes,
ears, and mouth, then attaches a stick body

with three-fingered hands reaching out wide
in one-dimension. “I draw mommy,” he says.
And I wonder if he pictures his birth mother,
or if he shapes her from a distance as I do,

his creation no more crude than mine
after reading the DCS report.
Or is it his foster mom of 18 months
who told us her driveway had been his easel

and of how she would spell their names
on the steps knowing it wasn’t permanent?
Or is it me? His first figure to not fade
in tomorrow’s rain.

Seth Grindstaff’s poetry is published in journals such as The Baltimore Review and Blue Earth Review, and his collection Keeping Fireflies was selected for Ghost City Press’ 2021 Summer Micro-Chapbook Series. He teaches in Northeast Tennessee where he lives with his sun-loving wife and four children.

NOVUS Literary and
Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN