Amanda Oliver Hendricks

You’re a Pig

Imagine a pig
arrogant, smelly, and never
at peace.
On a stormy day
the farmer threw
a rock
laughing as the drip
of urine
slipped from him
The pig whispered a squeal
and hid underneath
a blanket
of rough hay
permented by mud
Every time
the barn door slammed
he jumped.

That was the day the pig learned
to bite
after someone treated him
like rotted ham.






Nose Kisses

I cling tightly to my son
his cheeks flush pink
with lightly snoring sleep.
How much longer will we fit
in the blue “rock-rock”
him closely cuddled to my chest
as sharp teeth tear through
red and swollen gums
that small tight
space between
the only place he feels safe
scrunched tight tylenol haze
in Momma’s arms.

I wonder if he tried to stay
still, quiet, stuck
when the doctors cut
and sewed the pieces
of what was left of me
without him

I will watch him walk away
his mickey mouse lunch box weighing
one arm down
too small to push
open the door to his classroom.

I will wonder if he remembers
to pull tight
still, quiet, stuck
how to make himself tinier
beneath his desk
as the Boom                            Boom                           POW
echoes down the hallway.

I will hope he can fit
his body
Arms                                                                                                               legs
Ten                              f           i           n          g          e          r           s





hair that smelled
of baby shampoo at night
and buttered hamburger buns
after he sweat through a nap
the eyes he points to before
his nose

and mouth
Squeezed closed

Should I have taught my son to play
dead when he crawled beneath tables
searching for balls?
When he began to imagine he could see cows?
When he thought everything was purple?

Did not giving him toy guns
rob him of the chance to practice

Have I prayed enough prayers to bulletproof his soft skin?

I hope that his instinct to only pick dandelions instead of roses
teaching him to always say I love you
will be enough for him to survive
an education.