Poem Nov. 4–Lamb & Lion

posted November 4, 2018

My son has a lion
and a lamb inside that cage that guards his heart.

He bellows and shakes his mane,
He bleats under his blanket.

Sometimes I despair that between the two of us
There is no crack for the light to get in;
Our wills are each so strong
No space can come between the insistence on speaking first.

I am impatience for reason to emerge
But why? Has it come to me,
That light of the Enlightenment so touted by Jefferson and his ilk?

Why don’t you trust me? he screams.
Because you said you had practiced your violin,
And yet your case is here in my hand!

I shout all this, before he even gets to “me.”

Sometimes, I tell him wearily
We really do know best.


On movie night,
We pull the short straw
We rent a movie to show him why he should trust us.
Fail-proof nostalgia from the 90s
Certainly eternal, right?

But my son sees through Forrest Gump
In the first five minutes.
When Sally Field tells her son
The people dressed in tall white pointy hats
Who go around terrorizing folk
Are just “silly,”
My son stands up.
Will have none of it.

“Silly?” he shouts. “This is the best you can do?”

My yoga teacher says, “Why is it that we can’t stop beating ourselves up
For what we just aren’t able to do? We can’t do what we can’t do.”

But I can do this:
I can turn off Forrest Gump.
I can say, “you are right.”
I can say, “Thank you for teaching me.”
I can wait to let my son finish his thoughts before responding.
And I can lie down with him in his bed
The way I have every night for the last ten years.

Which is lion, which is lamb?


I write these poems to support the work of Center for New Americans. If you enjoy reading them, please consider donating to my fundraising page. Thank you!


Image by Iskra Johnson


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read More Like This