The chicken got my supper

Your daughter is two and cooking an invisible casserole
in a pink plastic oven when disaster strikes.

“The chicken got my supper,” she yells,
running to you like the life of everything depends.

This chicken–her first imaginary playmate–is trouble.
It makes messes in her brother’s room,
loses her grandmother’s earrings, and spills anything
worth its salt in spilling across newly mopped floors.

She is two with eyes lit up in outrage–
“That chicken bit my toe,” she says.

You load dishes and tell her to work it out
with the chicken. “Be nice,” you say.
“Don’t tattle if you want the chicken
to be your friend.”

She is two and funny.
Already, you know how to get a laugh
out of this from your friends.

But inside, you too rage against
your own imagination.

Life is not easy or fair, and the casserole
does not always work out the way you want.

Go ahead. Blame the chicken that earlier
stood clucking and happy beside you.

You might as well. Whatever else happens,
supper is ruined, and you’ve got nothing better to do.

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