photo_camera by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
Because I wanted to be a “real good boy,”
I opened wide each time my Mother gave me
my spoon of yellow syrup. I grew coy
about the nasty rush, smiling “so bravely.”
Because I wanted to be a “calmer boy,”
I learned to like the way my breathing slowed
while I dawdled getting dressed, then messed with toy
soldiers and blocks I’d never quite outgrown.
Because I wanted to be a “happy boy,”
I grabbed a window seat on the Bluebird bus,
using my wide-eyed stupor as a ploy
to save me from the views of other boys.
In class, I “settled down” like sediment,
learning to bury sadness that “made no sense.”