By Victoria Redel
Tell me it’s wrong the scarlet nails my son sports or
the toy store rings he clusters
four jewels to each finger.
He’s bedecked. I see the other mothers looking at the
star choker, the rhinestone
strand he fastens over a sock.
Sometimes I help him find sparkle clip-ons when he
says sticker earrings
look too fake.
Tell me I should teach him it’s wrong to love the
glitter, that a boy’s only a boy
who’d love a truck with a remote that revs,
battery slamming into corners or Hot Wheels
loop-de-looping off tracks
into the tub.
Then tell me it’s fine – really – maybe even a good
thing – a boy who’s got some girl to him,
and I’m right for the days he wears a pink shirt on
the seesaw in the park.
Tell me what you need to tell me but keep far away
from my son who still loves
a beautiful thing not for what it means –
this way or that – but for the way facets set off
prisms and prisms spin up
and from his own jeweled body he’s cast rainbows –
made every shining true color.
Now try to tell me – man or woman – your heart was ever that brave.
Excerpted from Swoon by Victoria Redel (University of Chicago Press, 2003).
Image: Pierre et Gilles.