Far from home, under ragged clouds
beside the crashing surf, on vacation
at Canon Beach, Oregon, we told him
at age three he was our chosen child.
He stood there looking confused, black
afro a halo around his sweet lost face,
around those blank dark eyes. No protest.
No questions. No answering hug. Now
he knew that he was different. Chosen.
Busyness occupied him; he needed constant
entertainment. I was a mother who played
G. I. Joes every afternoon, each game my
chosen sacrifice. I often invited his friends
to companion my rowdy chosen child.
Michael found kindergarten fun, first grade
a rude awakening. Straitjacketed into a desk,
into sets of rows and rules, with a world of
abstractions and conjugations to learn and his
impulses denied, inside my chosen child cried.
There were always buddies, but some parents
tried to keep those friendships from turning
keen. Shooting baskets with him in the spring
of fourth grade, Mike's first girlfriend declared,
I never want to leave! He gave her his picture,
but she never came back again. My chosen child,
was that when your sleeplessness began?
published in Illinois State Poetry Society
first published in Illinois State Poetry Society
also published in BEHIND PRISON WALLS Chapbook
©2010 Bonnie Manion