Richard Spilman is the author of In the Night Speaking and of a chapbook, Suspension. His poetry has appeared in many magazines, including Poetry, The Southern Review, American Literary Review, and The Gettysburg Review.
In his stroller he makes no protest—
motion the toddler’s recreational drug,
where everything is here and gone.
We buy him a new toy, a red box
with holes cut in various shapes
and blocks that fit into each one.
He masters the cylinder first try
and goes back again and again,
delighted in his accomplishment.
Then he tries the rectangular block—
nope, not in the circle or the square;
even when he finds the right hole,
he can’t make it fit. At home,
he tries to force a plastic car through
and when that doesn’t work, he runs it
hard over the top, turning each shape
into a pothole, zhoum, zhoum,
until the undercarriage falls out.
And now it fits: problem solved.