He waits outside the house in the car
for the boy to appear.
The monthly ritual as decreed;
the pick-up, the over-night stay.
He wonders what they’ll do.

He notes the trim flowerbeds,
the grass more lush than he remembers,
the path, neatly swept.
All reproach him for old neglectful ways.

Her car’s not there.

After five minutes he has to go
and ring the bell of the house
he used to live in;
has to see the new husband
his boy calls dad.

They talk about the weather and baseball
until the kid comes down the stairs
with his overnight bag.
Tall, lanky, almost fifteen
with an attitude.
Each time a little more distant.
Polite, but only just.

He wonders what they’ll do
knowing it will be the same routine,
a stop at McDonald’s, the usual questions
about school, the drive to his apartment
with the pull-out bed,
then watching the game on TV
to help fill in the long silences.