Tuesday, October 28, 2008

For My Boy

Excitedly you pull on a baseball cap and run outside
to play with the boys in the backyard
But within the hour
you are back at our door for the first time today
tears washing clean paths down your dirty cheeks

You remind me of my brother

When he was four and I was seven
he would come home with this same striped face
and I would go and fight his battles
All shoving and head-locks and fists-in-guts
until his tormentors left him alone

But now you are four and I am much older

You were born without a sister
to beat the pint sized bastards
that have labeled you a sooky
because you cry when they pinch you
or steal your toys and break them

You are not one of these baby brutes

The best I can do for you is talk to the mothers
who spout "Boys will be boys"
And I feel like shoving and head-locks and fists-in-guts
because it is not their sons who come home crying
but grown ups don't do those sorts of things

Instead I cradle your head to my stomach

I run my fingers through your fuzzy summer hair cut
feeling the grains of sand stuck in your hair
and when you stop crying I send you back outside
with my permission to fight
and a fistful of Mr. Freeze

But you don't fight

Instead you share your treat
and let them take all the good flavours
The blues and reds and whites
all the ones that you like
leaving you with the peach and lemon and grape

But you are happy to belong again

At bedtime I give you good night kisses
and smell the dirt and sun on your skin
Read you stories until you fall asleep
and love that you are different than them
but hope that tomorrow your face stays dirty.

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