Barely Eight By Rebecca Baggett

Barely eight, already you are entering
that neverland where young girls wander,
lost, for years, at war with mothers
and themselves. “This can’t be happening
yet,” I protest to doctors, teachers,
mothers of your friends, who say it probably
is. Those goddamned growth hormones
they’re feeding cattle, one suggests, more
cheerfully than not. They’re all maturing
earlier- why, mine wears a bigger shoe than
I do, and she’s only nine.

I’m not prepared for this.Your head has
topped my chin; you barricade yourself
inside your room, complain of us in your
diary, sob at imagined slights; and yet
you’re reading Robin Hood and Oz and Narnia.
Snickering when you see your parents kiss,
in love only with dogs and your own humor.
If I am caught unready, what of you, as you
ricochet between the little girl I have begun
to miss already, and the stranger I will someday
love, who stares at me now from my child’s eyes,
plotting her ascension.