Tag Archives: child

Now

The childless mother
wants to be alone on Mother’s Day
to stare out the window
into the world she no longer shares
with the little boy, who long ago,
brought her glistening dandelions
bursting from his little brown hand
and decorated her hair
with the yellow joy of life—
treasures collected after a storm
turned the earth to mud.
That day wasn’t Mother’s Day—
but it’s the one she remembers
on the second Sunday each May
when she’d give anything to go back
and withdraw the reprimand
for the traces of mud he left
on his way to make her smile.

 

DeMaris Gaunt
5-9-16

Little Boy, Casualty of War – I Won’t Forget You

Oh humans—
what have we done

It was never enough
for us to eat
and love
and admire

We had to take
and own

We had to create gods
that could give us
authority to kill

We even turned
the wheel
into something
nefarious—
spinning forever
out of our complete
control

 

DeMaris Gaunt
12-30-15

 

 

Autumn Cold

Can’t we just admit
that silence is an effective form
of communication?
It’s been days now
since each of us felt wronged
by the other.
I only offered you a hat
for the cold day, which annoyed you—
because I offered twice.
Once should have been enough
to shut me up,
so you snapped at me
for failing to consider you might be
old enough to know what you’d need
for the first cold day of Autumn
at the orchard.
And so the day was ruined—
as well as those that followed.
But we have apples now.
And pumpkins.
And a child so happy
that he never noticed his father
waited in the car while we walked
through the corn maze
and bumped along on the hayride.
Had he inquired—
I was ready to tell him the truth—
the temperature was unforgiving
and daddy’s ears were cold.

 

DeMaris Gaunt
10-19-15

 

Mountains

Sometimes
you want the mountains
so badly
you have to throw
your car keys across the room
and cover your face
with both of your hands
for an entire minute
and hope you have the will
to walk over to the mantle
and look at the photo
of your second-grade son
who would become
as unstable as ash
if you decided
you couldn’t wait
another ten years
before you walked out
on every promise
you ever made—
so you stumble through
another day
that isn’t heaven
but is nowhere close to hell—
and you commit
to another decade,
day by day –
knowing your beloved child will,
by then,
have his own beloved—
his own set of hearts
to start breaking—
and his own gray mountain
looking glorious
in the dark blue distance.

DeMaris Gaunt
9-29-15

Today

Things happened
that weren’t particularly
memorable or wonderful
or exciting today—
but I was alive with all senses intact,
and I smelled the roses in a literal way
when a child no more than five
ran right into me at the park,
fleeing her mother’s disapproval
over the handful of wild blossoms
she’d picked while her mother’s
attention was on her phone—
and I wanted to tell the child
to hold onto those roses
and run a little faster
while she’s still young enough
to believe that beauty is worth
such stunning futility.
But I was silent—
which is what, when grown,
we’ve learned so well to be.

DeMaris Gaunt
9-26-15

Inflation

It starts in your lungs.
Those two cages of breath
unwilling to unlock the door
for any entrance or escape
of air or comfort or ease.
So I sit on the bed beside you
plugging you in to a face mask
and tubes which coax open
those stubborn balloons
with the help of a vapor
squeezed from a vile.
Your friends next door
and across the street have
taken the bus to school
where they will learn about
numbers and our strange language
which has no word for the
kind of daily prolonged fear
that some mothers have
of their children dying
in hospital beds or outside
in the parking lot having
underestimated the speed
at which a small body might
deflate if the mother, say,
takes too long in the bathroom
or runs downstairs to refill her mug.
We are prisoners in different cells,
you and I.  Yours collapses
and mine inflates with every breath
you struggle to take.
This time it ends well
in a hospital bed where it only took
a few hours to correct the numbers
on the screen – those vital signs
that say it’s okay for you to go home
and take it easy until next time,
which we can bet will happen soon,
and then, if you are lucky enough
to grow up into a world
that has improved its
inadequate lexicon
to include a word for
the prolonged daily fear of mothers,
then you’ll understand
how relieved I’ll be when you call
in the middle of a future night, in tears,
and tell me it’s only your heart
that’s broken.

DeMaris Gaunt
12-6-14