Yield to Stroller


My son Jiro loves city buses and any bus-like vehicle. When we stop at an intersection to cross the street, he kicks his arms and legs from his stroller and yelps in delight at a Fedex truck. Its driver waves back and holds up traffic to let us cross. When a cab behind him honks in protest, the truck driver leans out his window, “yo! it’s a f*cking baby.”

On our daily coffee run I hurry across the street with the stroller, crossing in front of a cyclist who has to slow down. He turns his head as he passes and I prepare to be scolded for jaywalking with a child.

“Babies before bikes,” he says with a smile and rides on.
Red Socks

On vacation in San Francisco, we push Jiro up and down the hilly streets. A laid-back California guy stops his car and calls out, “A man with red socks always has the right of way.”


Kerry D. Martin


I push my son in his stroller around our Brooklyn neighborhood for entertainment. We encounter other mothers with babies doing the same thing. One woman wearing a tiny infant in a sling stops to say hello to us.

“He’s so big. Is he Asian?” she asks.

“Thanks,” I say. “His father is from Japan.”

“He’s part Korean,” she looks down at her baby. “Sperm donor.”


Kerry D. Martin


An old man resembling a hobo out of a movie asks me one morning if I know where Ten Eyck Street is. I have lived blocks away from it for thirteen years.

When I was in the first grade I had a crush on Steven Eick. A blond boy with the kind of smile that turns one’s face into a series of wrinkles. His eyes became two down-turned em-dashes.

We used to wait in line in the auditorium after school let out for the school bus together. When you’re a kid so much activity takes place while waiting for things to happen.

My older brother Pete always called him “Steven Itch.” He told Steven one day (in front of me) that I liked him. I denied it and Steven looked off into the distance, distracted by embarrassment. Things were never the same between us after that. It was always hanging in the air.

I’m thinking about this with the hobo standing in front of me. “I’ll ask someone else,” he says.


Kerry D. Martin


I never saw my Grandma K in a bathing suit so I made the assumption that older people aren’t allowed to go in the water. Maybe something would happen to their thin bones or papery skin, maybe their organs couldn’t stand up to being emerged in water; I wasn’t certain.

My grandparents each had their own bedroom, side by side, each with a single bed on top of golden shag carpeting. My Grandma K’s floor was covered with a forest of paper bags. Her filing system.

One year the women in my family went on a “girl’s getaway” together. I saw my Grandma K walk out of our hotel room bathroom in a black bra and slip.

I spent most of the trip swimming along the bottom of the hotel pool. I scraped the bridge of my nose on the blue concrete. My grandmother, watching me from a deck chair came over next to the pool and dipped her hand in the water and said, “just the temperature I like it” leaving me to wonder how she would know.


Kerry D. Martin



It my top dresser drawer live a layer of delicate, pretty bras that have been undisurbed for the past two-and-a-half years. Shoved in with them, in heavy rotation are taupe-colored, utilitarian nursing bras. They are like pushy subway passengers taking seats that are clearly too small for them.

Scissor Lover

A barista with a Russian accent asks me to repeat my order. She’s staring at my necklace, which is a tiny pair of scissors.

“I don’t even know what you said, I was looking at your necklace. I just love scissors.”

Gladiator Sandals

These remind me of shin guards, or something that belongs in Beetlejuice.


Kerry D. Martin


My son Jiro is hooked on crackers. Anything you need him to do can probably be accomplished by giving him a cracker. One day I push him on the swings in a Greenpoint playground where an emerging condo is going to ruin the view of Manhattan. When he reaches for the construction site I incorrectly call one of the diggers a tractor.

“Cracker?!” he asks.


Kerry D. Martin