but I notice him
crouching behind the swings
at the playground
in a red Phillies hat he wore
at a game we went to last summer.
He hides in a pile of leaves
clinging to his sweater
blinks his brown eyes
as he squints
to keep out the dust.
Last week I sat on his lap
he spoke to me
retelling stories of his youth,
his skin sagged,
his voice hoarse.
His accent had a musical sound
I placed my finger in the cleft of his chin
his arms around me
cozy like sipping hot chocolate
after ice skating.
He watches me play
Looks after me still
I recall how
his crooked fingers
cupped my chin
telling me I was beautiful.

Lois Perch Villemaire resides in Annapolis, MD. Her stories, memoir flash, and poetry have been published in such places as One Art: A Journal of Poetry, Ekphrastic Review, The RavensPerch, Trouvaille Review, among others. Her poems have been included in anthologies including those published by Truth Serum Press, and others.