Children do not grow up
as much as they grow away.
My son’s eyes are stones - flat, brown, fireless,
with no visible openings in or out.
His voice, when he cares to try it on,
hovers one-note in that killing place
where even the blues fidget.
Tight syllables, half spoken, half spat,
greet me with the warmth
of glint-tipped arrows. The air around him
hurts my chest, grows too cold to nourish,
and he stares past me to the open door of his room,
anxious for my patented stumbled retreat.
My fingers used to brush bits of the world
From his kinked hair,
but he moved beyond that mother shine
to whispered “fucks” on the telephone,
to the sweet mysteries of scalloped buttons
dotting the maps of young girls,
to the warped, frustrating truths of algebra,
to anything but me. Ancient, annoying apparatus,
I have unfortunately retained the ability to warm meat,
to open cans, to clean clothing
that has yellowed and stiffened.
I spit money when squeezed,
don’t try to dance in front of his friends,
and know that rap music cannot be stopped.
For these brief flashes of cool, I am tolerated in spurts.
At night I lay in my husband’s arms
and he tells me that these are things that happen,
that the world will tilt again
and our son will return, unannounced, as he was -
goofy and clinging, clever with words, stupefied by rockets.
And I dream on that.
One summer after camp,
twelve inches taller than the summer before,
my child grinned and said,
“Maybe a tree bit me.”
not knowing that was to be his last uttered innocence.
Only months later, eyes would narrow and doors would slam.
Now he is scowl, facial hair, knots of muscle. He is
Pimp, homey, pistol. He is man smell, grimy fingers,
red eyes, rolling dice. He is street, smoke, cocked cannon.
And I sit on his bare mattress after he’s left for school,
wonder at the simple jumble of this motherless world,
look for clues that some gumpopping teenage girl
now wears my face. Full of breastmilk and finger songs,
I stumble the street staring at other children,
gulping my dose of their giggles,
and cursing the trees for their teeth.
the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession
the absence of a conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so…) between phrases and within a sentence
conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie
a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic
joining two or more words to create a new word