When the golden orb of the doorknob

remains beyond the reach

of his tiny, grasping hands,

the atrium balcony

presents a happy


How quickly he pulls himself up!

— then over.

Unaware of their duty to flail,

his limbs remain quiet and relaxed

during the sweet, breezy descent.

How long before the sirens begin?

Before the muscles of the stunned-into-silence crowd

entertain movement?

How long before a mother learns

that an apple, once peeled,

can never reclaim its skin?

Jo Ann Povia is chief of staff for a state assemblywoman. She lives in Ewing.

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