This Is the Son

for Jacob Ray Bunting

We collect approving glances like party favors:
my two daughters skip ahead, and in the stroller
grins the boy I was always urged to try for, the son
an address book of friends, and the odd rude stranger
told my husband he really wanted.

My seven-year-old directs his play the way
she bosses the hamster through mazes;
my five year old oversees diaper changes, hugs him
like her favorite bear. Iíve heard younger brothers of sisters
grow up a little spoiled, with a deep love for women.

I imagine my husband, who has so easily abandoned
a house crowded with females and dolls.
He will dabble in childcare: football, baseball,
boysí birthday parties. There will be a catch
in his voice, a central desk photo of his son.

But this is not our son; this is the third child
I didnít want enough, the need I smothered,
the final cord I refused to wind round
my right wrist, my writing hand.
This is the son I am always giving back.

Previously appeared in Literary Mama




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