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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