A Poem for Jeffrey on the Eve of His Thirteenth Birthday

the last day of twelve
was nothing special,
you said.
you didn’t dress for gym,
didn’t play four-square with
the others. only walked,
you said.
in English, you wrote
a myth…about Gusano—
it means “worm” in Spanish
you said.
this Graco-Spanish
worm-god found freedom,
you said.
but he led his people
back into the
earth to rule the Underworld
and that’s why he will
be responsible for
the zombie apocalypse.
you said.
and math was about
interest, like money and
banks, you know?
you said.
and you have homework
so you came home in
a bad mood and didn’t
want to talk about  twelve
you said.
so i hushed and got out
the eggs, cracked them one-by-
one in the bowl and mixed until
those yellow eyes are gone; i
rubbed grease on the pan that is
swathed in black enamel
from years of cradling sweet
batter…and i poured more
in. you at the table building
up interest when the room
starts to smell like a birthday.
and suddenly, you are there,
beside to lick the batter from
the bowl. what time was I
you said.

Listen to it!

shared with nancy and the gang.


  1. says

    They become so different and difficult at these ages. I love the moments when we catch a glimpse of who they were…or of who they will be…or who they’ve always been and will always be, deep inside.

  2. says

    Happy Birthday to Jeffrey!

    I like how you bring this poem to a close, because it’s so true to the nature of boys: even as they are heading away from us, they stay close.

  3. Elaina says

    Whew~ a TEENAGER! Happy Birthday…or as I’ve been told: “Happy Birthday Day!” You are so such a wonderful blessing. You are preparing me for my future…giving me insight to what lays ahead. I can’t imagine double-digit numbers yet…;-)And you know Jeffrey is a very blessed boy…to have such a poem and you as a Mom.

  4. says

    You’ve painted a perfect picture of your boy with your words Laura.
    I didn’t get to listen, but I think I can hear your voice anyway 🙂

  5. says

    The hush of a mama when her boy is having a bad day is such a holy thing. My boy’s birthday was the day before yours. May God bless them both in the year ahead.

  6. says

    Is there any better gift than a poem?
    This one is beautiful in all its reality. And, I loved hearing it in your Mama’s voice, too.
    Happy Birthday to your batter-licking son.
    Bet he smiled during that (at least on the inside:).

  7. says

    I love the power of cake to draw the child close to the surface.

    I love the wise mother who wrote these words. Bless you, Laura. And your boys.

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