Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Cleaning out his dresser drawers
reveals many things.
Some are obvious, like the underwear
and socks that no longer fit him
after his last growth spurt,
remaining untouched
since I cleaned his room last.

He has grown even more quickly
than he or I have grasped,
erupting faster than the span between
back-to-back seasons’ shopping trips.

This truth is evident,
in the one foot square space
containing men’s small boxers in various cotton plaids
and another square foot space of smallish white knit anklets.

But I am left with uncomfortable questions
only a mother will ponder and suffer.
Like: what underwear has he been wearing,
and where is it now, if it isn’t in this drawer?

Fortunately the answers are easy and
not too disquieting.
He is out of town with fellow students,
all his daily-worn clothing with him,
and I am cleaning now because he is
not underfoot, moaning like the toddler
he once was years ago.

Mom, Mother, Ma, Mom—
No. None of that, and I am at
my uncomfortable leisure to clean and
enable this coltish creature’s quarters.

Another disquieting question
lies wadded up, blue lines upon white paper,
ball point ink in his sloppy still-childish hand,
a love letter to an unnamed girl.

I can’t help read it,
the words are scrawled so large
they jump off the paper like others
I once saw more than thirty years ago.

Did my mother similarly
take pause at a scrap of paper, holding her breath,
wondering if she should read further,
to learn something about me, about herself?

I push it away, beneath untouched socks
knowing already what I need to know.
Like a boy thirty years ago,
he is growing up, but not grown up.

No. Not just yet.

Copyright 2015 Femme Malheureuse
Photo: ortizmj via Flickr

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