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2020-07-06T13:16:50-04:00July 1st, 2020|Parenthood|

The tick

The tick stuck out of my son’s arm
like a tiny angry lobster
trying to wedge his way inside.

My voice was calm
in that robotic way
that isn’t
calm at all.

We called our neighbour
we got the tweezers
we held his hand.

My husband was the surgeon
he almost became
before he became a writer.

I kept thinking of Winnie the Pooh
who always gets stuck
head first
in a small hole
trying to reach the honey.

Because I couldn’t quite accept
that a little vampire
was feasting on my son’s blood
while my husband twisted and tugged.

The tick came out whole
and we cheered
even my son
who had been holding his breath
and my neighbour told us
to put the tick in a plastic bag
in the freezer
which we did
and we got the rubbing alcohol
and we held his hand.

Only later
did I notice his sister
quietly crying,
drawing a card.

I assumed it was for her brother
but then she said,

I just wanted to make sure
the tick knew we would remember him
and his parents probably don’t know
he’s in our freezer

and then she flung her head
into my lap and sobbed
and I couldn’t think of what to say
so I rubbed her back
and hummed her favourite lullaby
loud enough
until she felt confident
the tick
could hear it.

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