Her tenacious curiosity
finds an electrical socket
blackens her delicate fingertips.
At seven, her teacher calls to say —
she’s stolen Fruit Roll-Ups
from a classmate’s backpack.
My time-out sanctions create
a cackling crescendo:
I hate you, I want a new mom —
from behind her bedroom door.
Each passing year —
I gather new transgressions
fumble in the darkness
grapple with aversion
to adolescent tattoos & piercings
at my it’s for your own good!
When she sneaks out to a forbidden party
I take her door from its hinges —
its return a Christmas present,
the only item on her wish list.
At sixteen the phone rings
an hour past curfew —
she’s rolled her ’79 Mustang in the ditch.
I arrive to headlights
beaming through the night sky
upside down engine still running
her first car never even makes it
home from the lot —
I spare scolding overlook the heap
of crumpled metal feel the heat of her
life flashing before my teary eyes.