4 Random Poems on Parenting


Parenting is a roller-coaster for sure.
It goes too slowly, and it moves too fast.
It’s also the best thing ever.


Too Much


Today she got the best of me.
All three.


There was no adult in charge.
Just a 51-year-old adolescent
at the stove,
at the wheel,
at unlucky door number 3.
Today she told me not that she hated me,
but that I hated her.


I willed her to my womb,
I grew her in my body,
I fed her with my breasts,


I bathe her,
read to her,
go sleepless when she’s sick.


I bandage her wounds,
I sing her to sleep.
I brush out her fucking tangles
every fucking morning.


I hold her down.
I hold her up.
I hold her in the dark.


God it’s too much.
I simply cannot
in good conscience
recommend parenting
to anyone.



Attention Deficit


Hey Doctor!
Hey Shrink!
Hey Specialist!
Hey Administrator!
Hey Teacher!
Hey California Standardized Box Makers!
Hey After School Square Peg Directors!


Do I have your attention?
Can you focus on this for a minute?
Can you settle your asses down in your seats?




Now take your little tests
And your little evaluations
And your cute little bell curves…
Gather them all up together and put a cute little bow on them.
Then, take your bullshit recommendations
and your bullshit red markers
and your bullshit drugs
that dull my daughter and drown her sparkle
and go fuck yourselves.





You’ve had a fever for 3 days, Esther.
And I don’t like it one bit.
Fever scares me.
It scares me cold.
I’ll never show you that it does, though.
I will never let that cat slip.
I will smile every time I take the reading.
I will smile and wink
and give you popsicles
and ice chips
and stroke your forehead
and tell you how lucky you are to sleep in my bed.


I will smile when I tell you that you don’t have to go to school
and I will cancel my appointments,
and change all my plans – every last one.


To be with you.
To watch you.
To watch your fever.
To watch it rise
and rise again
To wait for a sign.
To wonder.
To wonder.
To wonder.


Why now?
And what did you touch?
How did you get it?
From whom; on what day?
When will it break and what is it, anyway?
Why no other symptoms?
Why nothing?
Why nothing?
Why nothing?
But fever.


Jessie’s youngest had a fever that wouldn’t go away
and wouldn’t go away
and wouldn’t go away
and they finally found cancer in her blood.
Fever with nothing.
It scares me a lot.


So you’ll sleep in my bed and I’ll stroke your forehead.
I’ll bring you ice chips,
and smile.



Second Story


She sleeps in a second story nest
right up close to the glow-in-the-dark stars.
She listens to me read the pictures of a life
lived on the prairie a hundred years ago
and tries to put it together with hers.


One more chapter is closed.
One more night has fallen.
One more dream has filled her head.


She wishes I would hold her all night,
But I’ve grown too old for her bed.