Hawaiian Vacation

After the flight
after the drive from the airport
after we waited and waited at the hotel
            she showed up.
After she had her Coke and rum
after she showed off her Goodwill
            sparkly-blue purse
            the parrot blouse
            the mismatched skirt
after she disappeared into the ladies’ room
            far too long
after she asked us how we liked
            her hair—pink in front and held
            up with a little plastic blossom
            so it stood like a fountain
            on top of her head the way she
            wore it when she was four
after she called me “Mommy”
            in that little-girl voice
            I wanted to weep 
            for the boy sitting between us
            —just old enough to understand—
            who had looked forward with the pure
            longing of a child
            to this vacation.
After she said she had
            only three dollars and
            thirty-two cents to her name
            and he pulled his spending money
            from his back pocket
after he set it on her lap
after his mom gave him a kiss and he scooted away
            after that we drove to the beach.

EVA-MARIA SHER's poetry has appeared in Big Scream, Cadillac Cicatrix, California Quarterly, Cape Rock, Dos Passos Review, Drunk Monkeys, Euphony, Forge, Front Range Review, GW Review, ken*again, Old Red Kimono, riverSedge, Rougarou, Ship of Fools, Soundings East, Vending Machine Press, Westview, and Willow Review
The Adirondack Review