My son was five, riding home
from grandpa and grandma’s.
From the back seat he said,
“When I’m old, I’ll be a grandma.”
Our laughter filled the car
and we told him that only ladies
become grandmas, but he would be
in a puzzlement of roles, the depth
of identity, then asked, “But when will
my skin turn brown?” Again, we laughed.
But I’ve come to think our laughter
was more innocent than he was then,
mindless as we were of the distinctions
that must have entered his mind,
the world that would crowd in, trying
to use them against him, against
the love between his grandparents,
against his wonderful, wild imagination
that would color his skin brown
so he could be like his grandpa.
Read more of Michael T. Young’s poetry.
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