The child is tired

Beneath his eyes the skin is blue because
he is tired of scissors and the paper he carries
home, tired of the sound of the classroom
animals he hears, waiting for sleep, tired
of the morning bowl of cereal and milk struck
because he dropped his spoon. The spoon
is hard to hold because he is learning to read.
His hands are smeared with words that never
sleep: “cranberry” and “starfish” and “bamboo,”
sounds that lower his body hand over hand
every morning down the stairs, the familiar jolt,
foot and leg dragging like the hand wanting
to write, wanting to move without confusion
not like the animal in its cage, not quiet.


Cover of TLR's "The Rat's Nest" issueLaurie Lamon was selected by Donald Hall, Poet Laureate 2007, as a Witter Bynner Fellow for 2007. Her collections are The Fork Without Hunger and Without Wings. She is a professor of English at Whitworth University and poetry editor for the literary journal Rock & Sling.

“The child is tired” appeared in The Rat’s Nest (TLR Summer, 2011).