This lot was recently paved.
The neighborhood boy has a good acre
on which to run his model racer
by hand-held remote control.
The car circles, reverses like a live thing.
Perhaps he was sent outside
for tormenting the housecat with it.
The toy is less interesting
than his face, its pleased private smile.
He has learned not to look too happy.
Someone always feels called
to ruin too much happiness.
Too much happiness invites a taunt
from a speeding, full-sized vehicle.
It sets you up to discover you left
your treasure in the driveway last night
and Dad backed over it this morning.
So smile, don’t grin. Don’t dream
of laughing. If your nosy Mom
even guesses how happy you are,
swear the woman to silence.
Seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee Russell Rowland continues his trail maintenance work and baby-sits his toddler granddaughter in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. Chapbooks “Train of All Cabooses” and “Mountain Blue” are available from Finishing Line Press.