While the grownup conundrums are out by the barbecue pits
scanning the night skies with binoculars for signs of Sputnik, the
little cute as button riddle from next door leads him into the bushes.
I’ll let you see my answer if you let me see yours, she says. Oh, he
was just a wee riddle back then, hardly knee-high to the lazy
grasshopper, with hardly enough of an answer at all to brag about.
He never guessed back then there were so many riddles—this
unlikely breath called life is reckoned to be one, and dark matter,
and the last of the Romanovs, and death. And so many answers.
He was way too young to know a riddle isn’t a riddle once the
answer is revealed. That’s why go-go dancers can’t be riddles, why
that winged marvel the Sphinx leaped from the high wall of Thebes.
Poem by Joe Smith
Illustration by Honoria Starbuck