I’ve been feeling a bit . . . nostalgic. . . maybe even a bit melancholy . . .  the last few days. It’s not just the winter blahs, really, although that is part of it. And it’s not the signing-myself-up-for-Medicare thing, really. Although I’m sure that is part of it, too. (Although, mind you, I am happy – ecstatic, actually – about my birthday next month; I never mind celebrating another year, and I’m glad for Medicare, too.)

I think it’s more . . . well. This little guy!

This little guy is my son, Brian. Now a fully grown up and very independent man . . . who will be turning 32 next week. 32! How does your BABY become 32????

(I had just recently turned 33 in this photo. Just for a little perspective.)

So I’ve been taking a few trips down memory lane lately, and remembering what it was like to have a little boy in my life.

Brian was fearless and very curious when he was a little guy . . . although he did tend to be afraid of “monsters” at bedtime. Tom and I used to have an extensive “banishment” ritual that we employed at bedtime to Banish All Monsters from his room. It worked pretty well, back in the day.

When I found this poem a few days ago, I decided – given my mood – that it was the perfect one to share this month . . .

Mother Talks Back to the Monster
Carrie Shipers

Tonight, I dressed my son in astronaut pajamas,
kissed his forehead and tucked him in.
I turned on his night-light and looked for you
in the closet and under the bed. I told him
you were nowhere to be found, but I could smell
your breath, your musty fur. I remember
all your tricks: the jagged shadows on the wall,
click of your claws, the hand that hovered
just above my ankles if I left them exposed.
Since I became a parent I see danger everywhere —
unleashed dogs, sudden fevers, cereal
two days out of date. And even worse
than feeling so much fear is keeping it inside,
trying not to let my love become so tangled
with anxiety my son thinks they’re the same.
When he says he’s seen your tail or heard
your heavy step, I insist you aren’t real.
Soon he’ll feel too old to tell me his bad dreams.
If you get lonely after he’s asleep, you can
always come downstairs. I’ll be sitting 
at the kitchen table with the dishes
I should wash, crumbs I should wipe up.
We can drink hot tea and talk about
the future, how hard it is to be outgrown.

This poem is included in Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness & Connection edited by James Crews and published by Green Writers Press in 2019. Information about the poet can be found here.


You can find A Gathering of Poetry every month . . . on the third Thursday.
Share some.
Read some.
Gather up some poetry!

(Bonny is hosting a special link-up for A Gathering of Poetry. Be sure to check it out!)