Paul removed the tickles from the room.
He placed them in a box marked Terror.
He placed the box under smothering blankets.
The blankets under an Acme barbell labeled two-hundred-seventeen pounds.
He thought measles, mumps, and chickenpox
were three of the four riders of the Apocalypse.
Paul manipulated his imagination to crowd
the vacancies in the neighborhood of his missing playmates.
His missing playmates each had an individual reason
for the rush of air filling their particular vacuum.
Paul decided to survive this abandonment
with simple heaves of the chest and a thousand sobs.
Pooh Bear and Piglet adopted a stronger meaning
and an elevated position in Paul’s friendship hierarchy.
copyright © 2018 Kenneth P. Gurney