Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Little Foxes

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Already lost,
whatever advantage
birth conferred over
the lower primates
to your brain, my son,
which unbeknownst to us
harbored a den
of sharp-toothed
little foxes:
elusive seizures
devouring your mind.
Forty years undetected,
they prevented deep learning,
sucked the marrow of your cells,
and got stronger.
With the new diagnosis,
I now see their bites
in the sudden buckling
of your knees,
your abruptly blank face
and slack jaw
before you return to yourself
like a boy who slipped out
his bedroom window at midnight
for a lethal kiss
and returned before his parents
missed him.
Now, too late,
I know the incontinence
is not your fault,
nor the clumsy hand
that dumps ice cream
down your shirt, nor
your forgetting
well-known habits.
But listen to me, going on.
It's just that
the less you understand,
the more I want to tell you,
before you're all gone.


Elaine Fowler Palencia, Champaign IL, is the author of six books of fiction and three poetry chapbooks. Her fourth chapbook, How to Prepare Escargots, will be published this year by Main Street Rag Press. Her book about her maternal great-great-grandfather, On Rising Ground: The Life and Civil War Letters of John M. Douthit, 52nd Georgia Volunteer Infantry, CSA will be published by Mercer University Press in the fall. Her essay, “Newgrange,” appeared in the August 2014 issue of Literary Mama.


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