This poem is inspired by watching my children grow up. It is part of my Hardship Collection.
I cupped him, the weight of a bag of sugar, in my palm;
he would whimper, his chest stayed, as if a burden
on his breathing; his nasal passage clogged up
with the mucus he is unable to shift on his own:
I would wrap my mouth around his nose and suck.
When he crawled I scoured then proofed shut draws,
cupboards, gates and toilet seats, with bolts, and
picked the house clean, like bone, to remove
any harm he may stuff into his mouth or trod
on as he staggered around the house without brakes.
Then he started school and with it a different kind
of worry, that that tugged at my heart with the fear
of what may happen to him outside my clutches;
fear like the dark clouds I see in every path before him,
fear like the noose my station hung around his neck.
At college a different worry still, that that his age
and his tongue wielded like a knife, allurement:
dark shadows like apparitions — very bad time.
Suddenly, a child for whom I did everything
prepared for university and the life of a grown up.
We would sit together and argue about life, the life
that he was yet to live, as my own father’s voice
echoed “Most profound watching your child,
a child you bred and reared grow bigger than
you are”. If only I knew what he meant then?
Now he is an adult, with a job, wife and a child
of his own, gathering, like harvest, the memories
and experiences that he will wear like his skin.
Still I worry about him, a different kind of worry,
about his wife and child and the world they have inherited.