A/N: This poem is kind of sad, yeah? But once again, entirely true, for I desperately suck at fiction.


Eczema

"Wrestle me,
wrestle me,"
he says,
springing for my ankles and dragging me down to the
floor,
eyes and voice painfully eager to appease his
malnourished sense of companionship.

I can only love him so much before
I am met by a wall,
one he defensively crouches behind,
left to himself and the eight-year-old emotions
we adults are not allowed to see.
I jab and tickle tummy and ribs,
my fingers brushing sandpaper skin.
"You need to start putting on lotion,"
I say.
"You practically have scales.
Like a dragon!"
At this he protests,
attracted to the idea of seeming less human,
more beast.

Then it is time for the library,
but not before he puts his socks on,
and not before Nana shows me his letter to Santa,
in which he requests only video games,
slyly tucked in between sugary compliments
and "mailk and cook'e" promises,
reassuring Santa (twice),
"you are not fat."

Then we drive to the library,
Mom and I – separately –
and breathe the scent of books
deep into our lungs,
and I help him to find
some books about dragons,
wondering if the Star Wars phase
has finally passed.

We check them out
and head our separate ways.

But before I can head out
(and get caught in a surprise November whiteout,
stuck doing 15 the whole way home)
Jake says I need
to come wrestle on weekends.

My heart melts despite
the winter wind's bite
and I smile and I promise,
"I will."