The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Patricia Starek – Simple Request

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Patricia Starek


Simple Request


The request was simple
Can my child come say hello to your child?
With appropriate social distance of course

It has been 8 weeks since this 7-year-old has seen a friend in the flesh

Yes, come by on your walk
He would love that

And he waited
With rapt breath
Stood on the couch staring down the road
Waiting for his friend to arrive

Within minutes
There were requests for scooters
Running around the block
Sleeves were torn
Masks were off
Bubbles in the air
Nerf guns
Soccer balls

Sweet laughter

His mom, masked
Looked at me
She and I
Still 12 to 20 feet away
Is this ok?
Should we be doing this

Joy feels scary
The work of childhood

After 15 or so jubilant minutes
We cut it off
I’m sorry, she said
You’re gonna have to disinfect it all

My child, the happiest he’s been in days
Rushed into house to wash his hands


Patricia Starek, marries two passions: teaching and writing. She has always been a word lover. She has performed across the United States and internationally. She has taught both students and teachers for over 20 years. Patricia is obsessed with vocabulary. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two sons.


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