I went looking for him because,
when I looked out the window
and saw headlights curving off the street,
I thought of every news story I had ever heard
about kids being taken.
It didn’t matter that we live in a safe neighborhood.
It didn’t matter that he is big for his age.
It didn’t matter that stuff like that doesn’t happen here.
So, I zipped my coat and put my shoes on.
I thought about how I would explain
why I had not walked my son to his friend’s house.
It gets dark sooner.
I am tired.
None of it felt sufficient.
I held my breath against the cold, dark, night
and did not take in air until
I saw his coat and shoes piled in the front hall
of his friend’s house.
I didn’t even knock because I knew I seemed panicked.
I walked back toward our house thankful that,
he was safe from this cruel world.
it did not swallow him whole
while I was not looking.