poem25 Apr 2021 05:46 pm
By Pearson Scott Foresman – Archives of Pearson Scott Foresman, donated to the Wikimedia FoundationThis file has been extracted from another file: PSF P730004.png, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80192438

Anne Carly Abad

I should have held back.
You sat there, mouth ajar
by the staircase
while your father caught
shards of insult I threw at him.
I thought you’d cry but you clenched
your mouth shut; could have sworn
the clinks were glass shattering.
'Milk, honey?' I asked.
You shook your head.
You’ve turned three but you don’t walk
and your father still smiles
like I didn't just call him an idiot
(He forgot to lock the door again at night.)
You mumble, 'Mommy, sleep.'
So I carry you.
You're light as paper.
(Maybe you just haven’t had enough to eat.)
And your bed
isn’t it too big for you?
(Have you always been
this tiny?)
Your arms and legs curl up into knots.
Your skin hardens like the crust
on a pretzel. Somehow, you wriggle
out of my grasp and burrow deep
deep into the sheets.
The white cast has left your skin.
But you haven’t grown horns.
They say beetle larva gorge on
much sap and rot
so as to need less food in adulthood.
You just need to grow those horns
and you could lift
a thousand times your own weight!
I have to stop
counting the years.

I keep the light open for you.

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