Butterfly Laces

I scurry among

crayoned pictures,

animated lunch boxes,

and unpaired mittens

scattered like autumn

leaves. Hurriedly I help

with coats, hats, sneakers -

smothered by

pushing, pressing feet

and wriggling toes crooked.

Seventeen four-year-old faces

look up, hoping

with drooping bottom lips

and wrinkled foreheads.

I stoop and remind,

butterfly laces first

now into rabbit ears

cross in the middle

then use your thumb.

They respond with

shrugged shoulders

and crossed arms to

accompany moist cheeks.

Again bent on one knee

for another attempt.

Wide eyes and

almost smiles when

finally the strings behave.

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