Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Pushing 7 1/2, Falling into 8

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Tonight, we lie on his bed
and he cries, "I'm ugly."
And I try to hold him,
try to rock him, but he's all new,
with his long arms and hairy legs.
And I find that at seven-and-a-half
there is nothing small left
for me to comfort.
He turns away from me and cries
from a place so deep inside
that there is no sound,
until the pain reaches his throat,
and he says, "Mama, I don't want to be me,
I want to be a baby again."
Does it matter that he doesn't listen
to me anymore?
Before bed he looked into the mirror
at the two teeth pushing from
his lower gum, crowding the wobbly
baby teeth that refuse to leave.
I told him, "You're so handsome."
"No, I'm not." he said and stared
at the rows of tiny teeth.
"But you are." I said.
"Mama," he replied, "I can see."
Tonight, I try to hold on to him
and a tear drops into his ear.
"What was that?" he asks.
His dog at the foot of the bed lifts its head,
our cat stands up and stretches her long body.
All three unaware that I am falling
off the edge of this bed.
That there is no room for me anymore.
And that this is new to me --
this falling.

This poem previously appeared in the anthology, Twelve Los Angeles Poets.

Vicki Whicker lives in Pacific Palisades, California with her son. She earned a BA in Psychology from Quincy University. Her poems have appeared in Twelve Los Angeles Poets and Literary Mama. She is a member of the Los Angeles Poets and Writers Collective, and she is currently at work on a collection of poems and essays.

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