The baby slipped beneath the tracks
seconds before the approaching train
rolled above her tiny body.
Not a strand of hair touched.
I watched the footage on my phone
five, six times, wondering who this baby
would grow up to be. Why this life spared,
and not the teenage boy in the next news clip,
found dead in the basement, carbon dioxide.
His parents showed his senior photo,
his winning essay on social justice.
They sobbed freely on camera
over all that could have been
if the universe had shifted
just an inch to the right or the left
for the boy in the basement
or the baby on the tracks.
More evidence to suggest
we don’t leave before our time,
only when our time is up.
Jacqueline Jules is the author of three chapbooks, Field Trip to the Museum (Finishing Line Press), Stronger Than Cleopatra (ELJ Publications), and Itzhak Perlman’s Broken String, winner of the 2016 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize from Evening Street Press. Her work has appeared in over 100 publications including Beltway Poetry News, Cider Press Review, Potomac Review, Inkwell, Hospital Drive, and Imitation Fruit. She is also the author of 40 books for young readers. Visit www.jacquelinejules.com