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Ben, 6

By Darlene Young

Baggy jeans, rolled up to fit

short legs still pink and rounded
but strong enough to kick covers off,
race Daddy, leap puddles
(unless it’s more fun not to).
Sand in the cuffs and pockets of rocks
summer-scavenged,
Anakin, Pokémon, metal bolts and bits
of magic treasure overlooked by grownups.
Batman underpants beneath it all
(your secret source of power).

You burst—
wherever you’re off to, into,
baby skin barely keeps you in,
lifeblood coursing. You whirl—
humming, skipping,
bouncing through the house like a happy puppy,
smelling of sweat and grass and apples.

Nighttime, merely a lull,
you sleep hard and hot, fair lashes on red cheeks,
dimpled hands clutching the blanket.

The right sneakers can make you quick.
People are good and grownups are wise.
Umbrellas and hammers and paper towel tubes
are all the reason you need
to leap out of bed in the morning.
Reindeer can fly
and so will you someday.

You might tolerate a hug
(if it’s not too tight)—
I’m passing my hand through a sunbeam
to catch the dancing dust—

Water on the bathroom floor,
crumbs under the table.

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About Darlene Young

Darlene Young lives in South Jordan, Utah, with her husband and four sons. She serves as the secretary for the Association for Mormon Letters and is acting poetry editor of Segullah. This year her baby is in kindergarten, and my how those afternoons fly!

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