I am on a friend’s lawn
chatting to a family walking by
who I don’t know very well
when my son runs out yelling,
“Mom, what’s a vibrator?”
The husband, who is a fireman,
looks down and smiles.
“A vibrator, what is that? Mom? Mom?”
My son is standing right beside me now,
demanding my attention
the way he gets when he really wants an answer
or a second helping of dessert.
In that frozen moment
the dad says brightly to his wife and kids,
“Race you home?”
I explain it all then to my son,
which feels less like I am giving him information,
and more like I am peeling some part of him away,
even though he tells me it’s just a word
he heard on The Good Place,
and he seems as content and unaffected
as if I had shared a recipe for grilled cheese sandwiches.
It’s the fireman I think of later,
and my gratitude to him
for rescuing me
on his day off.