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The tinkling of broken glass echoes in my ears.
I stand over the broken pieces of my mother's
favorite cookie jar.
One eyes of the ceramic teddy bear
is still intact, piercing me.
My nephew is crying. I hug him tight.
"It's okay, John. But, listen to me, you can't
tell your daddy. Do you understand?"
The sound that I've been dreading--
gravel crunching in the driveway.
My brother is home.
John runs to the door. "Daddy! Daddy!
I got something to tell you!"
I freeze, one hand clutching the broom,
the other grabbing at the air.
What am I really afraid of?
He'll notice that the cookie jar was missing
What will I say when he asks me?
What will I say if he finds my report card,
or the letters I wrote his best friend
when I was thirteen?
What will he say if I ask him
about the cigarette smoke on his breath?
Children don't lie.
They don't know any better.
I stared at the pieces of bear on the ground
and, for a moment, I imagined our trust
lying on the floor,
shattered beyond repair.
the front door slams. I jump in action:
Hurry, sweep up the pieces
Quick, throw then into the trashcan.
Faster, hide the trashcan on the back porch.
This is for the best. It's only a white
lie. A small white lie.
John will learn to lie soon.