Growing Up

Like a porcupine’s quills,
your hair stands in every direction.
Up and down and straight and curled–

well, only one curl, actually.
Right on the top of your head,
and it reminds me of another time
when your hair stuck straight up;
sort of like Alfalfa’s,
and you were so cute then–

not that you’re not cute now!
It’s just that you’ve lost the baby fat,
and your face is contoured,
instead of round like a little ball.

Still, you have the same dopey smile,
and have the same silly hair,
and the same goofy laugh.

You’re not so changed after all.
I can see flashes of the baby
you were in the toddler
you have become.
I just hope some day,
when you’re grown and care
about what your hair looks like
versus how much fun it is
when mommy tickles your cheeks,
that I’ll see flashes of the child
in the man you will become.

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Little Bird

I see you, little bird,
as you flutter in the brush
on unsteady wings. And your voice,
a tiny peal of a bell’s song,
pulls with it the first light of dawn.

But oh, little bird, don’t you know?
It’s a scary world outside your door–
here, there be monsters.

And I watch from my porch
the cat creeping close, with
the scent of prey heady in his nose,
attracted by the same song
I was enjoying just a moment ago.

And from the trees, your mother calls
in her angry lecturing voice; or
she is yelling at the cat,
scolding, warning, threatening;
but what can you do, little mother,
when he’s so much bigger than you?

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there;
or a cat-eat-bird world;
even a bird-eat-bird world, sometimes–
because everything beautiful can be ugly, too.

Oh, little bird,
you should have stayed home.