Bringing Up By Annie Powell Stone

Bringing Up

My three-year-old always interrupts
but for the sweetest reasons.
His requests drip on my head and pool
in the blend of charm, annoyance, and deep knowing
that fills the well of a parent’s love.

He always wants to hear a story,
and I never would have thought I could draw up so many:

“Once there was a boy who could reach up and bite the moon…”

It is my honor to be the toy fixer in our house,
proof I can handle delicate things.
Pliers, super glue, toothpicks, and tape,
my workbench a tiny mechanic’s shop
like my dad’s was.

Now I am the bringer of bandaids and fixed toys.
Who is touching who?

“Here’s one about Myrtle the rummaging ghost…”

I’m putting my head down to write this
and look at it sideways while I work
like a grade school coloring page,
my arm between the cool smooth surface of the table
and the soft warmth of my own cheek.

And now it is my dry winter hands
almost snagging the silk of my child’s cheek:

“Mary Jane who liked to complain and had a name like a shoe…”

If you can’t find me I’ll be by the coat hooks, leaning into the mass,
smelling the wood smoke on my husband’s coat,
the toddler sweat on my son’s.
My own pockets full of talismans from maternity:
used tissues, a rock, a tiny dinosaur.

I used to love leaning against racks of clothing in stores as a kid,
Would slow fall through the hanging soft pillars:

“Did I ever tell you about the sleepy cookie…”

He says he wishes he could have known me when I was a little girl.
And he has hit upon it, like children so often do,
a truth: by definition parents can never be children with their children.
But we can dip a bucket in and surprise ourselves,
and we’re better today for it.

By Annie Powell Stone


Annie Powell Stone (she/her) has a BA in English from the University of Maryland and MS in Urban Education from the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in Remington Review and Second Chance Lit, and is scheduled to appear in Melted Butter Magazine and Doghouse Press. She lives on the ancestral land of the Piscataway people in Baltimore, MD with her husband and two kiddos. IG: @anniepowellstone

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