by Jennifer Migotsky

A puff of panicky breath
hovers on the chill air
and mixes with the smoke
of a cigarette.

Mama looks down on you
—puppy-eyed motorcycle-dreamer,
candy-sucker, dentist-hater—
with the firm gaze
of a ruling judge.

The tears of a child
break not her heart
—she is immune
to his daily down-pours.

The statute stands.