Care & Feeding: A Parenting Sonnet

by Paige Gilchrist

It’s hard to love a teenager, spider-spread
of long legs and arms that push away then snare,
entrapping cash and provisions in their web—
you, poor parent, a disposable concierge.
You try so hard to feather their little nest
which has become—let’s face it—a grimy sty.
Dark burrow for a wallowing, ravenous guest—
how much easier when all they did was chirp and cry.
Like yearling meerkats, bats, and stickleback fish,
hormones drive them to flirt with danger rather than flee.
As if poking the predator, gunning the gas is just impish:
Dude. Leave me alone. Ugh! Stop breathing on me.
But you’re a killer whale circling your young in the light,
sentenced by primal code to love your wild creature for life.

Paige Gilchrist lives in Asheville, NC, where she teaches the movement and meditation practices of yoga, and—you guessed it—is raising a teenager.