Roly Polies

Paola is four
Mad at the world
Her family moved, away from abuela,
the new school is in English

Evie is four
Sad at the world
Ear infection, broken leg (healed)
Chicken pox, ear infection

After nursery school one day
Paola is brave, comes to Evie’s house
Eats the tuna crackers, carrot sticks, and watermelon, quietly
Then released from the table’s polite demands,
They scamper out

Past the toys, sandbox, the swings,
The mother looks up from dishes to see them
At the very back corner
rooting around in the compost

Lifting soggy leaves, rotten sticks,
Black lined fingernails gently pluck out
Pill bugs
sow bugs
roly polies

Seven paired legs shortly flail, then tuck
segmented backs curve to gray spheres
Quivering, curled in the childrens’ small palms
like tiny armadillos-No longer safe,
they coil against the unfamiliar light

The children, they are crouching
Picture their dirty knees, sun warmed hair
Together their heads bow down
Without words

8 thoughts on “Roly Polies

  1. Your simple story reminds me that together friends move on and discover and leave their sadness and madness behind. Thanks for reminidng me of the importance of exploring nature and being together. Especially during this time of separation.


    1. Thank you Sally. I want you to know I did make the change you suggested, putting the first two verses side by side in columns, and then I centered the last verse. I liked it that way, but when I copied the document to wordpress that didn’t convey. So there are two versions 🙂


  2. I like how the two girls, such different individuals in the beginning, each with her own concerns, come together around the simple joy of discovering treasures in the compost pile. Your description of the pill bugs shows your keen observation of nature in such an appealing way.
    (I like the format for the first two stanzas with the all caps at the end of each.)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This brings back so many memories! We could marvel for hours how at the slightest touch they would transform into little spheres. Such a great blessing of this pandemic has been watching neighborhood children discover playing at the creek and riding bikes!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, Fran, what a beautiful poem. The images are rich and vibrant. I love little Paola and Evie, and how they needed each other in their lives, finding some peace in roly polies. Absolutely lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My heart is pieced for Paola (leaving the dog behind!) and Evie (sick but healing with a new sibling on the way)! Displacement is immense, frightening. It hurts. Once again I am amazed by the resiliency of children, captured so well here in your words. You made me remember my childhood love of roly-polies-! Thank you for much heart-stirring today.

    Liked by 1 person

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