A poem dedicated to the toddler who bit me on the leg


I learn something about life at preschool summer camp

A poem dedicated to the toddler who bit me on the leg when I worked at a preschool summer camp.


I am not a child.

I am something stuck between the teeth

of adolescent confidence and adult despair.

This is my first job, and a toddler has already

bit me on the thigh. She senses, perhaps,

this weakness in being,

this herbivore instinct.


I had forgotten

about the wild spirit of girls

before they become pruned branches.

But a bow bounces across the room,

a girl hurls a Brontosaurus and roars,

she topples the block tower of another.


I pick out the long-neck dinosaurs

from the primary-colored buckets,

and for a moment I want to tell

the girls what I have learned: the

Brontosaurus keeps its head low

to the ground and sways

from one small shrub

to another.


But then I tell them something else:

that Brontosaurus necks were designed

so that they could brush their long hair

with clouds and flocks of seagulls.

That every single vertebra giggled

as they hoisted up their head

to help them lick the stars.


I want to tell them about fossilized

fortitude, about big bones, about

amber antics, about Jurassic jerks,

about cunning carnivores…

But instead I settle for explaining,

that something so big,

and so mighty,

should never keep her head low.




Thank you for reading!

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