Back To Back, by Pegi Deitz Shea

Back To Back
by Pegi Deitz Shea

Seventh grade son and I order
at Friendly’s, then he
stands to go wash his hands.
A girl in the booth behind us
whispers to her mother,
“It’s him!”
As he returns, he nods
small-like, and she giggles.

They sit back to back—impenetrable
five inches of wood and vinyl—
between them. Her currant hair,
his skater boy cap can’t meet
beneath the high banquette.

I fetch a fallen napkin to see
that the mother mirrors
my crinkled eyes.
We’ve been there,
though neither wants to
return to that excruciating age,
yet now we revel in

how our children’s eyes wrap
around the side of the booth,
how they scoot to the edge
of their seats so that elbows
can kiss, how, pink-faced,
they dip chins to shoulders,
as they suck through straws
the milk shakes that fail
to cool their heat
of the moment
that will never
taste so sweet
again.

Pegi Deitz Shea teaches in the Creative Writing Programs at the University of Connecticut, the Mark Twain House in Hartford and the Institute of Children’s Literature. Her poetry for adult readers has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Earth’s Daughters and Connecticut River Review. Many of her award-winning books for young readers focus on human rights and social justice issues. Pegi’s website

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