by Jim Schneider

At the conference
to honor my retiring boss
there would be speeches
and tickets for two to Venice.

But on the last day
before the ceremony
his wife did not awake
from their hotel bed.

Three days later
my daughter was born
a little bundle
with hedgehog hair.

I stood in his doorway
with strawberry bread
warm from the oven
and spoke of my girl’s loveliness.

Nodding, he smiled a bit.
I touched his shoulder and left him
standing at the threshold
gazing at the cooling loaf.

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