A Two-Year-Old Child's First Winter Coat

She arches her narrow shoulders back
proudly and stiffens as mommy stuffs
her arm full of her fist clenched
through a cotton tunnel of blackness
she cannot reach the end of and thinks
where is the light hiding

and what is this strange emptiness
so, she bends to peek inside
and adjust her eyes to the darkness
of a coat sleeve as big as she is
rubbing the coarse cloth,
like daddy, against her face.

He is standing smaller than his shadow
against the mirrored wall laughing, which makes
her eyes roll and tear as her lips press shut,
her nose scrunches tightly and her cheeks pout
and redden and then her other arm stretches
out into the air and she twirls

as if drunk on the cookie-smell
of the kitchen trying to escape the doll-eye
buttons and stiffness that entrap her.
She bundles up for her first
winter outing not understanding
why snow is so white or that the soundless sky

is so far away and why is her face so cold
and is winter so big that she needs a coat
like the animals she watches on television,
and walking outside where night
is a monster, nothing seems to be
the same as her coloring book

where the houses are painted
in so many colors and people
are smiling all the time and they
are all her same size and so she asks
why winter cannot just come inside
the house to get warm.

Steven Pelcman is a writer of poetry and short stories who has been published in many magazines including: The Windsor Review, The Innisfree Poetry Journal, and Fourth River magazine. His published poetry books are: American Voices, Outlaws Publishing 2017 and Where the Leaves Darken, 2018 Adelaide Books. Steven has spent the last twenty years residing in Germany, where he teaches and is a language communications trainer and consultant. http://stevenpelcman.blogspot.de