My Son’s Abs
At fourteen, his voice and waistband drop.
He’s stopped smiling for photos,
and I’m no longer welcome to rifle his hair.
Tonight, he asks me to punch his abs.
The boy still calls me mama when he’s sad,
but he’s crunching his core.
Because I won’t hit him, even in sport,
he balls up my fist in his
and twists my arm toward him.
His muscles are new, unfamiliar
on the child who so recently climbed
into bed with me after a nightmare.
Now I’ve changed his curtains
from Day-Glo yellow to solid blue.
I don’t have the common sense to let him grow.
And after the abs, what comes next?
A razor, license, sorrows he won’t share?
I ask him where he’s going. He shrugs
and wrings the boyhood from his skin.