Little boy you carry my heart with you each day in your grubby hands - your rarely washed-well-enough hands, with fingernail nubs and marker stains. Little boy hands that dig in the dirt, press together Legos, carefully smash pencil lead into backwards letters and misspelled words; Oversized like puppy paws They grip and shoot a basketball with more control than I ever had, They pull bicycle handlebars up into wobbly wheelies; but then yank your sister’s hair and the cat’s tail and smear glossy toothpaste messes on mirrors and drop stinky socks like a breadcrumb trail in your wake as if they spent all day plotting ways to drive me crazy. Little boy You melt me with a smile And enrage me with a sneer. The fierceness of your love for me is held delicate by your budding pride, as your carefree dash into my open arms is checked halfway by sideways glances to your crew; Youthful innocence eroding away by the world’s expectations of what it means to be a man. Still young enough to need kisses to mop tears after skinned knees, but quick to untangle from my snuggles when the neighborhood boys come peddling down the street. My Little Boy almost 4 feet tall all arms and legs and skinny chest and spikey hedgehog hair that never lays the way you want it - to look cool - to soothe your rising inner critic I wish would stay dormant. You turn and walk away from me daily with barely a whispered kiss anymore; Your lion-cub confidence made small by a backpack loaded down with the Weight of the World.
©Vixen Lea 2020