Heather M. F. Lyke

It smells of stale PB & J
and I have left behind my stuffy,
but there is a Highlights magazine.
I settle in, wrap legs criss-cross-applesauce,
circle items not supposed to be here—
wish I could circle myself.

The lady in a pale blue sleep set
asks questions about each circle
while down the hallway tangle my mom
plays hide-and-go-sleep in a paper nighty.
Why do all the adults wear pjs
when it’s still bright outside?

I’m handed perforated printer paper—
told to take a break from my circles—
to draw her a picture of my family.
To draw the picture that lets me go home.
So I take her frayed-edged, broken crayons—
set Highlights aside with much uncircled.

I draw mom and my daddy—
both tall and holding hands.
Sketch both big brothers, my dog,
my bird Feathers flying free.
I give them all smiles that extend
beyond pink-circle cheeks.

I have drawn this picture before.

About the Author

Heather M. F. Lyke is a writer living in southern Minnesota. By day, Lyke works in the world of K-12 education. On evenings and weekends, she creates. She builds things out of nothing: sometimes with paint, occasionally with fabric, but most often with words. Lyke’s published nonfiction works focus on teaching and learning. Most of her work, however, is poetry, which often stems from her strong sense of place. Her poems can be found in the various literary magazines and online journals, including In Parenthesis, Frost Meadow Review, Constellate, and Halfway Down the Stairs, among others.