When they were little, headless operations I called them,
toddling about with no motion detection sensors,
oblivious to the science of mass in flight against
the immovable object, cause and effect, win and lose,
I feared losing their pristine purity, their soft roundness
drenched in new flesh, irradiant, to rocks and bumps
in the playground grass or sandbox, opening into
split lips or knobby eggs on their foreheads. I feared
losing them to cars in free fall, driven by madness
up on my lawn, taking my children with them, like
the newspaper clipping in the local Starbucks report.
I feared flus and asthma, pneumonia, broken bones
and stitches they could contract or suffer with
complication and then die in my arms or in their sleep.
I dreamed of kidnappings and wanderings off in
supermarkets or department store aisles, lost, lost, lost.
I walked them to school the block and a half every day.
And when they were in middle school, I dreaded
the treacherous row of absent-minded, harried
dropping-off moms vs. the brainless, twit t’weeners on
bikes, laughing and careening their wheels into traffic,
caring little for mortality the daily drive threatened
like that boy and his friend on a bike, on the same road,
on the way to school two days before the school year
start, picking up his schedule, leisurely, laughing,
peddling, looking back at his lagging friend just before
the swerve, the truck, the texting driver, the hit–gone.
I never let them ride their bikes to school, not with that.
I did not want to lose them to twenty somethings’ texts.
Just like I did not want to lose them to drugs, drunk
drivers and AIDS, cancer, concussions or accidents.
I did not want to lose them. And I lost them any way.
To friends, trends, music and driver’s licenses, to
social media and idealism, fierce loyalty and pride of
a generation angry in the wake of destruction their
parents have left them to navigate, chlorinate the gunk
of polluted finance and corrupt opinions and falsity,
falsity everywhere. I lost them to independence and
opportunity elsewhere, greener, colder, blue-skyed
distant and lonely, free and home away from home.