having lunch at my daughter’s school

Sometimes it takes lunch with a hundred kindergarteners.

Smiles. Laughter. The chatter.

To bring you back around to where you’re supposed to be.

Just a boy on a ball of dirt

and lava and rock and water and hope and fear and love,

rotating on an axis that clearly does not exist

but can be seen on maps and in books and

can certainly be felt on a wintry February night

somewhere near the 45th parallel in the place,

not far from the lake,

that you have decided to anchor your roots and stay.

Kids shoot straight.

They make you remember

innocence is not lost—it is only forgotten—and

it can be regained when we choose to love unconditionally.

It was the 12:20 lunch.

The visit to my daughter’s school

where she giggled with friends

and I looked across the table at my wife as she listened

to a sweet, roly-poly boy talk about

his dad and his dog and his love for string cheese,

and it was that good solid minute

when I looked around the gymnasium

at all the children of different shapes and sizes and colors and dreams and

I believed they were mine.


~ K.J.

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