A poem


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.