Size / / /

Time has stopped in the children's section;

it is 2:25 and 37 seconds.

One shy girl is getting on the Tinkerbell bus,

though her pinned-on tag shows a laminated Goofy.

Nap-time mats and jumbo crayons

are all safe in their cubby holes.

Time has stopped and the children have decided

to not get taller than the Peter Pan painted shelves,

or outgrow the miniature plastic chairs and rockers.

The girl with dark hair doesn't put down

her Choose Your Own Adventure book

to replace it with Cosmopolitan.

The blond boy in jeans doesn't lust

hopelessly over cars and women.

Encyclopedia Brown, the Hardy Boys, and Ranger Rick

remain his best friends.

Parents, growing older, unrecognizable,

beg for them to come out, to play football

for them, to win beauty contests,

so they can cheer and brag.

The parents say over and over: The clock's broken,

and hope they are right.

The children press hands tightly against ears

and hum real loud, like they learned to do

in really scary movies,

until the big people finally go away,

back to the adult section's dumpster window view.

In the children's section, they somehow know

that time doesn't give bribes for free.

Even though there will be no more Christmases,

no more birthdays, no more Saturday mornings,

only dog-eared pages will ever wrinkle.

Holly Elliott lives in Tallahassee and received her Doctorate in Creative Writing from Florida State University where she is currently teaching courses in poetry as well as American, Contemporary, and Women's Literature as a Visiting Instructor. You can contact her by email at
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