Ritalin
by Michael Gates

    Wings beat around his warm, blond head,
    bright sun I circle in a shrinking spiral.
    Billions of child thoughts compete with me,
    a fizz cloud of humming birds and ellipses.

    The car door slams
    because "you are not my father."
    I'm no relief for his mad quest,
    this tight knot of questions.

    I am only the sperm cell,
    the relentless tadpole that engendered this,
    a frog-boy jumper, a concept hopper
    lost in a sheaf of papers.

    Nerve doctors, psychologists--
    can they do more than murmur
    as milligrams drop from their fingers?
    He cannot even dress himself, tie his shoe.

    We start out slowly, adjusting
    the dosage, balancing sobs
    and dyslexia. Tiny blue planets
    go down making promises.

    "I'll grow a brain," he says.






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