Ode to My Sixteen-Year Old

Late at night I lie in bed and picture The communication we could have had this evening Before you retreated to your room With a walled-in “goodnight.” I see us in the kitchen while I toss ingredients Into measuring cups and bowls, mixing the batter For your sister’s thirteenth birthday cake, squinting at The old, splotched recipe scribbled on scratch paper While you lean your elbows on the counter— All lanky leanness and knobby as a foal, With just a hint of a shadow above your upper lip— And talk to me of many things. I hear morsels of your speech Although I know beneath my preoccupation You want me to hear you completely. An “Uh-huh” here, an “Oh” there, are my responses And sometimes a d

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