Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
My Middle Daughter, on the Edge of Adolescence, Learns to Play the Saxophone

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for Rebecca

Her hair, that halo of red gold curls,
has thickened, coarsened,
lost its baby fineness,
and the sweet smell of childhood
that clung to her clothes
has just about vanished.
Now she's getting moody,
moaning about her hair,
clothes that aren't the right brands,
boys that tease.
She clicks over the saxophone keys
with gritty fingernails polished in pink pearl,
grass stains on the knees
of her sister's old designer jeans.
She's gone from sounding like the smoke detector
through Old MacDonald and Jingle Bells.
Soon she'll master these keys,
turn notes into liquid gold,
wail that reedy brass.
Soon, she'll be a woman.
She's gonna learn to play the blues.

This poem previously appeared in Psychological Perspectives

Barbara Crooker lives in Fogelsville Pennsylvania. Her poems have been widely published in journals and anthologies such as, The Christian Science Monitor, Poetry International, The Atlanta Review and Boomer Girls. She is a six-time Pushcart Prize nominee and has won numerous poetry awards and fellowships. She is also the author of ten chapbooks of poetry, including Ordinary Life which won the ByLine press chapbook competition in 2000. She is the mother of two daughters and a son. For more information or to read more of her work, you can access her website at

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