The girl in the butterfly shirt skips past.
Her wings brush my leg, feather soft
as I sit waiting for the school counselor.
A Mom Waiting. I watch the butterfly
breeze by all smiles and ponytails.
On a bit of broken tile she stumbles,
skinned knee and tears hot and raw
like the wild animals of kindergarten are.
Tame and feral in the same small skin.
A kiss and a Band-Aid restore the butterfly to flight.
Recess. Boys and girls laugh and chase and giggle,
squeals and the happy sounds of typical childhood.
A Mom Still Waiting. My heart breaks
as butterflies stream past holding hands.
The tiger that is my son has come to play.
Desperate to fly - to laugh and chase and giggle
he chases butterflies away into clouds
then watches desperate and alone in empty tiger space.
Nothing is as wonderful as the sound of children at play,
unless your child is not one of the butterflies.
At home I search the medicine cabinet for Scooby Doo
and Ninja Turtle Band-Aids. All I can find
and even more kisses are still not enough
to soothe the skinned heart of a boy, my son, the tiger
who wishes he could fly too.
A Mom Waits. Maybe tomorrow?
~by Piper Selden
Printed with permission from Advocate (2004); Reprinted EP Magazine (2004)