I was prepared for the Awkward Age
the physical changes, personality,
frustration, exasperation, even rage—
but not for this.
I was prepared to smile knowingly, thinking
This too shall pass.
And we will always love each other, I tell myself
as much as it is possible to love anyone
You are in your room, alone, with a book.
Who taught you how to read?
Seemed like a good idea at the time.
My questions are greeted with
monosyllabic replies, grunts really,
and eye rolls, withering looks, sarcasm—
the lowest form of human discourse—
and finally the screaming:
Why can’t you just leave me alone?
I still remember reading you Charlotte’s Web
taking you for long walks in the rain
through the San Juan Mountains
watching you sneak downstairs after bedtime
so we could watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer
coming to the choir loft
midway through the service
so you could sit on my lap.
The Awkward Age is supposed to be
awkward for you, not me. I should
be the parent
but instead I’m a marionette
with tangled strings, a poor sap trapped
in Shelob’s web
a capeless hero, destroyed
by a new color of kryptonite
and you are the elusive hummingbird
who hovers in midair for a short time
and then skitters away
faster than my eye can follow.