They Call This

          A young mother on a motor scooter stopped at a traffic light, her little son perched 
on the ledge between her legs; she in a gleaming helmet, he in a replica of it, smaller, but 
the same color and just as shiny.  His visor is swung shut, hers is open.
          As I pull up beside them on my bike, the mother is leaning over to embrace the child, 
whispering something in his ear, and I’m shaken, truly shaken, by the wish, the need, to 
have those slim strong arms contain me in their sanctuary of affection.   
          Though they call this regression, though that implies a going back to some other 
state and this has never left me, this fundamental pang of being too soon torn from a bliss 
that promises more bliss, no matter that the scooter’s fenders are dented, nor that as it 
idles it pops, clears its throat, growls.

Copyright © 2013 by C. K. Williams. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on December 11, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.