Poet’s Corner: Almosts

I glanced in the rear view mirror as I shifted
into reverse, something bid me look again before
stepping on the gas. A round cheerful face with big thick glasses
peeking over the bottom of the car’s rear window. Liam, 
on tiptoes, the neighbor’s child come to see if my son could play.

My lecture on car safety left him unimpressed, but the almost
of the moment left me shaking. What might have been. 
So often a question applied with melancholy to golden moments
missed,  lovers and friends that might have stayed, chances
not taken, opportunities foolishly sidestepped, the should haves,

the could haves. But what of that car that nearly t-boned us
as our car skidded down the icy hill? The undertow on that Carolina
beach? The medical test that ended up benign. The big problem
that had an easy fix. The missing child in the department store
found giggling under a clothing rack, like Liam, not

understanding what could have been lost. So many of these
almosts could have taken us out of the beautiful ordinary
of our days and put us someplace unimaginable and awful.
What almost happened. But didn’t. 

Top photo: Bigstock