Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Two Sides of Thirteen

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I worry my son should be closer
to the rough edges by now
where life rubs against pain,
chisels a drive to survive,
carves character.

At thirteen, I spent twelve-hour days
in black tights and leotards
in a windowless dance studio.

I leapt into wings of the Kennedy Center,
warmed my muscles in aisles of airplanes,
a soloist always ready for the next stage.

My mother's death moved through me
under the heat of lights.
Her face in every audience,
where I knew I had made her most proud.

My son is unvarnished at this age—
not yet interested in glances at girls,
packs of friends.
Not striving to be on every sports field,
not ready to dive into a dream.

He makes me an offer
I'd love to tell you I will take,
to embrace a life less driven
where afternoons blend from house to house
jumping on trampolines with neighborhood boys,
Sunday lunches with Grandma,
a home where no one is dying.


Jennie Linthorst’s poetry has appeared in Bluestem, Edison Literary Review, Foliate Oak, Forge, Kaleidoscope, Sanskrit Literary Arts Magazine, and Hopeful Parents. She has published two books of poems. Jennie is the founder of LifeSPEAKS Poetry where she works with individuals and groups exploring their personal histories through reading and writing poetry. She teaches workshops in a variety of venues including UCLA Arts & Healing and the Manhattan Beach Unified School District.


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So visual and beautiful. Thanks Jennie.
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