A Song For When I Was Little

Come here, child

Sit on my knee

I’ll tell you a story

This is your hand

With it you’ll carve out colors in soft squares

Let me tell you a story

Where this is your hand and this is mine

Where I sponge paint from your palms

And name you the colors

I teach you to parcel out the world

Into names

This is your hand

I say, as I trace your veins

And this is your blood, which

Is blue inside of you

As it oxygenates your cells

And turns red

When it meets the harsh air

Like you did


This is your hand

Which you must wash the gray-green scour of graphite from

Each day

You present your thoughts before the world

You send them out like wooden boats on the lake

which sits next to

the bed where every year the beans grow

with vines grasped together.


This is your hand

No longer do I shrink from the softness of it

You know how

To count the clouds like airplane tracks

which you used to say

were angel feet.


Let me tell you a story

Where all boats sink

And all airplanes fall like ripped-through kites

It’s a sad story, child, but it’s true.

This is your hand

The world will tell your fingers a fable of mud and gristle

This is your hand, and these are the rough patches

Made of burlap which you sewed on against the world.

Dream of home, honey.



Additional Resources

Get AI Feedback on your poem

Interested in feedback on your poem? Try our AI Feedback tool.


If You Need Support

If you ever need help or support, we trust CrisisTextline.org for people dealing with depression. Text HOME to 741741