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Childhood Lost

By , Cambridge, MA
Two little children combine a toxic concoction
Of shampoo and gel
A slimy combination of
Classic facial creams
And tooth paste
It sits in a cup gurgling to itself sullenly
Waiting for a brother to drink
And maybe die!
This is the master plan of the two three year olds
They hop down the stairs pleased with their days work.

A tiny child sees her parent filming
On a bulky black camera
She runs behind it to see herself
She is startled by the
Lack of action
Where could she have gone?
She was there a second ago

The door bursts open
As if pushed in by a giant
You, the parent, look down
Your tiny child is standing there arms akimbo
“Put shurt on sewf”
You admire her handiwork
She proudly prances around
The shirt:
Inside out,
her head through the arm hole,
She looks like the most incredible creation.
A miraculous mixture
Of innocence and worldly observation

You gather around the table
Your petit child on your lap
She looks intently at the
Teetering tower of well-used wooden wedges
She crinkles her eyes in total absorption,
You brush her curls out of her face
She raises her chubby hand
To withdraw a block from the
Intricate formation
Without knocking it over.
She reaches for a block
She changes her mind
She chooses one
The one at the bottom

You know the tower will fall down.
Do you stop her from decimating the tower?
You know that if you don't
there will be tears a plenty
She will have the desolation of knowing
She was the one to
Obliterate the tower
To have the vague sense
That she did the wrong thing

But is it fair to take away
Her experience
Her knowledge that
Mistakes can be made,
But that it will be okay.
To deny her that chance
Is to take a part of her childhood away
The place where she can knock over
The proverbial, and literal
Tower of blocks
And still be loved.
You reach out to stop her from choosing
The fateful flat piece of fragile wood

Your hand drops
Like a exhausted bird tumbling from the sky
You watch the tower crumble
Like a stale biscuit
Knowing that some part of your child
Has crumbled too
You rock her in your strong arms
You shush her cries
You chose the right thing
You will be able to look back and know
You did not stop your child
From living





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