with your small fast legs, karate-muscled and hairy before I was ready: what will you think? I am a bad mother, too worried about how to mold you to remember not to. No--not bad. I hold your hand, kiss your red elbows, pull gently the gum from your hair. Will I be given allowance? I am a mother after all, and in this world you have too few, even you with so many mothers. We talk about primary families; how I ache to cut yours down to two: me, you. But I play fair, give you your four parents, a half brother (your father's eyes reflected again in someone else's face). We could leave someday, go to Canada, to Mexico, to Belgium. Anywhere--you choose. You choose McDonald's. What will you think? I steel myself for it, the inevitable slur from your sharp mouth--even now, you say girls can't love girls. I have not done my duty. You are a bird, small one, weak wings already stretched to take flight, your clumsy body heavy with hollow bones. I will catch you catch you catch.
Rachel Bunting lives and writes in South Jersey, between the Pine Barrens and the Delaware River. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Boxcar Poetry Review, Weave Magazine, and Tuesday: An Art Project. Her son, Jacob, likes when she writes poems about him, but not when she reads them out loud in front of other people. She is currently at work on a full-length manuscript.
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