By Mark Belair

A toddler in a stroller
was absorbed in
a one-on-one encounter
with a lollipop
she held
so close to her face
her eyes crossed
as she talked with a frown
to what she seemed to see
as a little red head
that wouldn’t listen,
its one-stick body
no match for the toddler’s
fierce grip until, after
what came off as
a final word of warning,
she bit off a chunk, then—
making her best merciful-
mommy face—memorably
licked its wound.


Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and Poetry East. His books include the collection While We’re Waiting (Aldrich Press, 2013) and two chapbook collections: Night Watch (Finishing Line Press, 2013) and Walk With Me (Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2012). For further information, please visit

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