Slouched in the passenger seat,

he slides a sideling glance,

“Shall I tell her how I feel this time?

“Would she understand?’


Remote, assessing:

“Or will she embarrass me?  Tell her friends?”

“Condescend?  Get it wrong?”

He shrugs and turns away.  



I stop at a light.

“Who are you now?” I don’t ask.

“Who are you, large young man?  What goes on

                        behind your silent eyes? 

What is it like with your fuzzy chin?  your big feet?

What would you say with your bass voice?


“I am so proud of you,” I don’t say.

“Competence, confidence, passion, energy, grace—

“In every way

            you do delight me so.”


(Be quiet, mom.  I’m separating.  Not this year.  Wait.)


“Is my boy still in there?” I wonder.

“The little one in yellow footed sleepers, with a stuffed dog?

“Is he still there, somewhere deep inside?

 “Does it hurt, youth? 

Does it hurt like mine did

            thirty years ago?”


Will we be friends again, someday, or are you gone forever?


We get to school.

“Have a good day,”  I say too brightly.  “See you tonight.”

“Right, mammy,” he growls.  “Later.”






© Jean M. Campbell 2001