Kids are pretty scary
Like the 5-year-old boy who pinned a rabid fox to the ground by its neck
This one is a year older and is envious of his dad's chest muscles
So he does push ups hidden behind the couch
But puts a t-shirt on when dad calls him sexy
And dad's girlfriend is sitting there smiling at him like he's some kid
Like he couldn't pin a fox to the ground, too
So while dad's in the shower, he makes it a point to tell her he likes showers, too
That he can clean up like the grown men do
Plus yesterday he clapped so hard his hands turned red
And he likes school but this year he starts first grade
And first graders don't go outside for recess
Less opportunity to prove how strong he is I suppose
But this kid doesn't have to convince me he's scary
I know this all too well because mine would be 7 years old now
And to quote myself
I aborted because I was too afraid to put anyone but myself out here first
Perhaps too afraid to put all my energy into someone destined to break me
Or pin me to the ground by the scruff of my neck
Perhaps my kid would scream about how dad let's her do this
Or step mom loves her while I'm just a mean old witch
'Cause her daddy and I planted a seed long before we could have loved or trusted one another
Our relationship was bound to fail
Perhaps he'll get big and raise his hand to slap me
Steal my car in the middle of the night and wreck it
Because he lost his respect for me as a single mother
And he doesn't know what it's like to live as a real man
Perhaps she'll come home pregnant at fourteen
And try to convince me she can do it on her own, too
And then I'm forced to question why I hid at what costs?
Perhaps he'll go to juvenile detention for robbery or maybe murder
Or perhaps diagnosed with HIV
Paralyzed from the neck down by a drunk driver
Or just sudden infant death syndrome
Stage four breast cancer found at age 19
See...Told you kids are scary!
Like this lil boy who heroically held that fox down
Until his dad came along
Killed it barbarically with sticks and stones
That break bones but whose words could never hurt me
Unless those words are "I'm seeing someone else."
"I can't do long distance
"It's just in me to cheat."
But he says none of those things
He traces the word Love in the embroidery of my panties
Asks me what it feels like to be in love with someone
Comfortable? Safe? Butterflies?
He wants to know if I'm having the same feelings
He wants to harm the one who hurt me
So that now it's harder for me to fall
So cautious of what lies below me
And whether he is a safe place to land
Saying words that I want to hear and afraid to hear all the same
Perhaps dad is in Love with me but terrified of saying it
So he puts this scary little kid on the phone
Just to say "Hi"
And apologizes because I already told him I'm afraid of kids
But still we watch a movie in comfortable silence
Until this 6-year-old warrior grows tired
And is reminded that just because he takes showers now
Doesn't mean he can stay up all hours of the night
And I'm reminded even 5-year-olds who pin down foxes
Have fathers who kill with sticks and stones
Have fathers so powerful they break hearts with their words
Have fathers who are cowards and abandon their seeds
So when we grow up all we have is their shadow
No sustenance to hold onto
5-year-olds who had grandfathers spinning them on their pinkie finger while singing old gospel tunes
Those same hands that scarred grandma's face for life
I guess those fathers are even more scary
than their 6-year-old sons who do push ups hidden behind the couch
And clap their hands so hard they turn red
And perhaps this father is in love with me but terrified of saying it aloud
So he introduces me to his scary son
To show just how tough he is to have raised him
While saying this to him the whole night long
"I love you"
And though I know he's not talking to me at that moment
I hope one day his lips will form those same words
"I love you"
While I embrace him...
While I kiss him...
While I say goodnight to him.