My Son Had a Girlfriend
for a week when I was not
paying attention. I wonder what
this means for 11-year-olds.
They sent extra text messages
late in the night when he was hiding
under his covers, said he was listening
to music? They called this voiceless banter
dating. He asked yesterday if he could
start shaving, the dark shadow above
his lip has become a class joke, along with
the cracking voice and man-sized feet.
He started doing pull-ups in the basement
and referring to them as sets, asking
if he has abs. I was preoccupied
with dinner and appointments,
micro-management of a macro problem
we call his brother’s autism. By the time
word got out, they had broken up, both
moved on to other targets of affection,
cut strings that never attached them.
April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. She recently finished her first collection of poetry, for which she is seeking a publisher, and is working on a memoir on raising a child with autism. Her work has appeared in journals such as Poetry Salzburg, Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Montucky Review, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, and Writing Tomorrow and is forthcoming in Rattle. She also serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press.