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He seemed a stranger Mom let stay with us,

The man with stacks of papers in his car

Who rarely spoke, but wasn't dangerous.

One day he left his study door ajar

And I drop-kicked my half-inflated ball

Into the crack of light he'd left exposed.

The door flew back, crashing against the wall

As if protesting years of staying closed.


He hurried out, his eyes wide as my own.

I stood before him, waiting for his rage.

I couldn't tell him why, playing alone,

I'd broken in and drawn him from his cage.

Rather than roar, he smirked and mouthed my name.

I shrank away knowing I'd lost the game.


Jeff Holt



2001; originally printed in The Cumberland Poetry
.  Reprinted by permission of the author.


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