Child Rearing Today

Two little girls hurried by
their mother — nervously looking
for dangerous strangers
lurking in the terminal —
came across a moving walkway

paused

then cautiously stepped on
the mother warning
“no running girls”
the girls dashing off on cue
the mother warning
“OK, then no falling!”

(and I, a safe distance off
chuckled secretly
at her forced compromise)

The four of us floated by
another child
who amused himself harmlessly
by hopping in place — 
an ingenious remedy
to boredom.
His mother’s hands pushed down
solidly
on his small shoulders
to keep him on the Earth
The father frowning firmly said “stop”

(and I, a safe distance off
chuckled secretly
at their mechanical parenting)

Raised by reflex and fear
the collective hands of society
tell us not to jump,
no running
for risk of falling

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