john grey




She smiled well enough.
patted my cheeks
as if to put herself there,
tousled my hair like the wind did,
with much less body,
much less trill to its voice.
Still it was the only time
my father talked seriously to me,
like he was canvassing
my opinion on the subject
like he never did
with how loud I should play my radio,
how late I should stay up nights.
"How would you feel about a new mother?"
he asked, trembling, fearful,
like a faint echo
of his proposing to her.
It was the first time I felt
my arms should have been wings,
my bones light and hollow.
But I couldn't soar through the open window,
couldn't alight on the highest branch,
the rocky outcrops of the cliffs.
I was stuck with being human and unsure.
I mumbled "it's okay",
like granting permission for more cheek patting,
more hair tousling.
Then they'd hug, nervous, embarrassed,
in front of me.
I felt more chaperon than son.
But it got better with the passing years,
less attention to my cheeks, my hair,
more to where the cuteness stopped
and my life began.
A year from then,
it felt like my idea.


back to issue 7

take me home