eagerness tensions my hands and
i strain to hold my breath
to keep gut worming laughter
my big plan
smiles beyond previous prankage
light years ahead of my crazy purple elephants
way better than a nonexistent school closing blizzard exciting kids out of bed
over and above cheerios painstakingly super glued to breakfast spoons
well evolved from strawberry jam forced into toothpaste tubes which took hours to clean out ahead of time
this was the big one
i had topped it all
stepping toe to toe
i thought hard
what if i was going too far
what if this was all for myself
what if this one hurt someone
The older kid slumped down the stairs half an hour later
sleepy eyes unsuspecting.
Inside I cringed,
a lamb to the slaughter
she would have been,
if I hadn’t hidden it away.
Finally the youngest came down
eyes wide and looking around.
I served him his breakfast too.
He sniffed it.
Stuck his tongue in experimentally
eyes on me
looking for a sign.
I gave nothing away.
I realized, too late, that
I had nothing to give.
It was so Parentally Correct
My wife would be so proud.
The older kid ate on oblivious.
The younger kept looking, eagerness
they looked up at me
i bought you guys some new mittens
and washed them last night
they should be in the dryer
can you both please go get ’em
choose who gets which colour
Billy and Joe get to wear gloves.
i pick up the paper again and screams
erupt seconds after a terrific snap
i chuckle and pull on my string to unfurl
my super secret April fool’s banner
and wait for happy eyes to rush back