Katie Richards: “Stimulation”


You have hope at first
it will stop, that he’ll grow
out of it, that you can

teach him to try to subdue it
but he’s almost three now
so the flapping is much more

noticeable. Strangers stare. You
are so focused on the stares
and your shame and the shame

of your shame, that you miss
the quick blink of his eyelashes
soft as dandelion seeds, the crinkle

of his nose when he grins wide,
his eyes clenched shut, the rise
of his cheeks, the brief

appearance of the two dimples
he got from you, his high-pitched
squeal of delight. You miss the joy

in the flutter of his fingers
rapid as the whir of humming-
bird wings blurred in mid-flight.

Katie Richards is an MFA candidate at George Mason University. She is the recipient of the 2016 Mark Craver Poetry Award and the 2020 Mary Roberts Rinehart Poetry Award. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in the South Dakota Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, DIALOGIST, North Dakota Quarterly, and Cider Press Review.

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