Fledgling

 

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

of motherhood

 

grapple with aversion

to adolescent tattoos & piercings

F-bombs flung

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.