Latchkey Kids

A loaded presence in a biscuit tin,

      The rounds of sandwiches they found

            Were cut and dried as hard as tesserae;

Forgotten in the airless wardrobe, play

      Was innocent. Would they rebel

Against the bounds of home? But looking in

One day back early, neither made a sound,

And caught the two red-handed by the standard lamp,

      Surprised with strawberry jam

Spread on the prairie carpet with the large sliced white,

            Preparing in the makeshift camp

Provisions for the wilderness.

And where would they be going? ‘Well?’

But there was nothing they could say or do,

Taken totally unawares

      By adults who could not address

The brilliant sofa-length canoe;

      Two scouts bent toasting by the one-bar fire that night

            Beside the warm clotheshorse wigwam

Sent hopping redskin up the frozen stairs.