They tend to disappear and then re-
appear, incarnated by the children into
whips or nooses,
hand- or ankle cuffs.
Clumping laceless around her house she sees the
evidence everywhere: wide-eyed dolls
beaten into surrender, a satin horse
dangling from a doorknob
by its slender neck.
emerge sometimes –
a ribbon for a stuffed cat,
a ponytail holder for a curly-haired girl.
Rawhide threaded with
colored beads becomes a necklace.
Still, in dark moments it’s the
arsenal that she returns to.
Stop this, she tells them, as the
whip flails and the noose seeks a victim.
No, they say, it’s too much fun.
Their laughter, another sort of weapon,
hangs in the air.