On the doorstep to the hardware shop,
His daughter on his hip, he trips
Over the corrugated tread. She drops
Her lollipop.

From his shoulder, frowning down,
She sees it glowing
On the mat beside his feet.
Her sharp focus nails it. Blowing
Hot, she bump-starts into gear,
Blares her breath into his ear,
And wipes her tears
Across his face.

He peels it from the nylon tufts
And fields it out of reach
Of her twisting wrangle
And her outraged, angled,
Empty grip.

One arm enfolds her, and one withholds the prize.
He strokes the stick between his fingers.
The bright blob lingers on its axis.
He sizes up and maps its
Tacky grit.

And half-begins to hunt for a distraction
But the turning world is hers and she tracks its
Shining arc back to the promise she was given.
She canít (she canít!) contain her fierce ambition.
He knows,
And swings to action from reaction.

And so,
He puts the lolly in his mouth
And sucks away the grime,
Lolly-pops it back in hers.
She quiets, satisfied.

His shoulders, squared,
Shrug off embarrassment.
He nods towards the counter.
He meant Ö
Just what he meant.

Joe Crocker

If you have any thoughts on this poem, Joe Crocker 
would be pleased to hear them.