Child Like Bones

Lying in his bed, my son grabs at his
shin trying to stretch out the pain
that we tell him is from growing.
I keep from him that it will only get
worse with age, growing brittle and
hard, cracking under sadness, grinding
at the joints. Folded up
down the center as a piece of construction
paper ready to be snipped into a finished shape
and opened to the world, his bones are
limber and flexible, still ready to spring back
into the shape of the womb. Round back curved
over at the hips, forehead to knees, heels to
butt, is a seven year old fetus on the top bunk
scared of growing up. And how can I blame him?
A world created between the threshold of heaven and hell
how do you sell that kind of real estate to a child?
For every baby thrown in a dumpster there is a kind
and charitable person feeding the poor, so buy today
with 0% financing, though I hide the fine print.
What kind of a home breaks you from the inside
when it is on the outside? A ghost haunting
your bones, rattling them as you grow, cold
fingers around bent joints, soft tendons,
knocking around empty corridors
where shoulders meet ribs. This
world is as valuable as the youth
who will inherit it then gobble it up
for themselves, just as those
before them. But I tell the
aching, growing boy that
this world is his and he
can make it beautiful
if only he remembers
his aching bones
as a child.


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