"Daddy, Can You Find the Cheerios?"

by Carl Santoro

I put down my coffee cup,

tightened my knot.

"Mom can't find it. The box."

"I know, honey. The cereal."

The kitchen was coming alive

with our morning routines.

"I'll look on the lower shelves,

while mom looks on the upper ones."

Angelina, with her one arm

holding her favorite doll,

whispered for me to come down closer.

"She's been taking too long, " she breathed into my ear.

I couldn't help but giggle some,

and figured I should

turn on the light.

The blue haze of early morning

now replaced with a warmer

orange glow

gave hope to the chore at hand.

Marie stretched further

to separate the boxes.

"I got them!" she exclaimed.

She held the box out to me.

For a moment we all held it.

I saw Marie's beautiful hands

suddenly appear older than

I was used to seeing. As though older than

yesterday by a few years.

A slight vein rippling

bulged atop the familiar smooth skin.

A flash into the future perhaps.

Surely, this was just the lighting.

Why, these were the young hands

that I kissed only last night.

I felt a lump in my throat.

A sadness of things to come.

"Daddy, let go!"

Angelina pulled my hand.

Startled, I let go staring

at Angelina's hands.

Hands alive for only six years.

Her chubby fingers, now slender

and strong instead.

Hands that I kissed only last night.

I felt that sadness of things to come.

I felt a gladness of things to come.

I picked up my cup.

Everyone was happy.

The knot needed loosening.