My daughter has been watching the news
every night this week, anxious for word
on the soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand.
Every newscast parses like a cliffhanger
for her, each night mixing sorrow and fear
with a little hope: one night divers
find the team and swim back to let us know
the boys are all alive, but hungry and cold;
the next, four boys are pulled out of the caves
by guide wires, the rest left behind for another
day; then delays and worries of more water
pouring in to drown the remaining before divers
can swim back to drag them free. The next night,
domestic news of violence and murder
and political kerfuffle preempts the cave report,
and my daughter is left to fret her own ending –
What if the rains come? What if the older boys
are too big to fit through tight passages?
What is one of them kicks the wrong rock,
and the whole thing caves in?
She’s seen enough of the news now to know
it isn’t a chapter book rumbling downhill
toward a happy ending, or a fable holding its lesson
safe until we’re ready for it. In this tale,
the alligator is not compelled to carry the opossum
safely to the other side of the bayou.