I worry my son should be closer
to the rough edges by now
where life rubs against pain,
chisels a drive to survive,
At thirteen, I spent twelve-hour days
in black tights and leotards
in a windowless dance studio.
I leapt into wings of the Kennedy Center,
warmed my muscles in aisles of airplanes,
a soloist always ready for the next stage.
My mother’s death moved through me
under the heat of lights.
Her face in every audience,
where I knew I had made her most proud.
My son is unvarnished at this age—
not yet interested in glances at girls,
packs of friends.
Not striving to be on every sports field,
not ready to dive into a dream.
He makes me an offer
I’d love to tell you I will take,
to embrace a life less driven
where afternoons blend from house to house
jumping on trampolines with neighborhood boys,
Sunday lunches with Grandma,
a home where no one is dying.