The Child From Two Doors Down
The child is back, come scuttling down the path
between her part-time home and our back door.
Her hair’s a scarecrow snarl; she needs a bath -
how can they let her out alone? She’s four,
although she acts fourteen; designer names
emboss her jeans and jacket. Shoes untied,
she kicks the grass and will not join the games
my children play. Instead she slinks inside
to trail me round the kitchen as I cook;
she takes in any unexpected crumbs
of love, but still throws me this hungry look.
I did not bear this child. Each time she comes
her mouth gapes wider; she’s the starving guest
I dare not feed, poor cuckoo in my nest.
Originally appeared in The Evansville Review Volume XV