Free Breakfast

by Terri Kirby Erickson

The Springhill Suites free breakfast area
was filling up fast when a man carrying his
disabled young son lowered him into his
chair, the same way an expert pilot’s airplane
kisses the runway when it lands. And all the
while, the man whispered into his boy’s ear,
perhaps telling him about the waffle maker
that was such a hit with the children gathered
around it, or sharing the family’s plans for the
day as they traveled to wherever they were
going. Whatever was said, the boy’s face was
alight with some anticipated happiness. And
the father, soon joined by the mother, seemed
intent on providing it. So beautiful they all
were, it was hard to concentrate on our eggs
and buttered toast, to look away when his
parents placed their hands on the little boy’s
shoulders and smiled at one another, as if
they were the luckiest people in the room.

From A Sun Inside My Chest (Press 53, 2020).
Reprinted by permission of the author.

Read this and other poems by Terri Kirby Erickson in A Sun Inside My Chest, available for purchase online.