Municipal Playground

The shockingly green, gold, and red beetle -

too petite for a June bug, with greater iridescence

and a delicacy of limb and feeler

unprecedented in the insect kingdom -

walks up her palm to the inside of her wrist.

"I must show this bug to that boy,"

she says of a sulking pre-adolescent

I've peripherally watched abuse

the for-toddlers-only rocking horses

on their rusty springs.

He is the wrong boy.

The beetle, sensing danger, flies off

before I have to make excuses

for the boy's inevitably sour

or mocking or violent response.

Yes, the beetle flies away,

probably wanting his mom to make him lunch,

we decide, heading for the car,

but the boy has noticed her glances,

her interest, watches her with a malevolence

I hope I'm imagining. He waits,

and will be there again tomorrow

or next week, and she will approach

with her wistful only-child smile,

her delighting eyes,

to show him something else.