Dispelled -
natural instinct
which would wipe
sloppily kissed saliva
from cheek
with hastily raised hand.

Baby talk
and kisses -
which haven't changed
since boyhood

holding back
an urge
to brush
clinging hands

Overblown tenderness
a cover for fragility
which lingers
not so far
below the surface

on approach
muscles tense -
a learned impulse
awaiting the deluge
which isn't far off.

A son suffering in silence.

A mother suffocating a man
while grasping
as if life
depends on it
to the boy
she once knew.

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