for boys with names like apostles

by Spencer Diaz-Tootle

I'd like to have known you as a toddler

when you were unbridled 

and affectionate

and too stupid to be afraid.

small enough to scramble into my lap

and be healed by the powers of a sana sana. 

When your skin was always slightly sticky,

your smile sweetly rotten. 

when your knuckles were dimples,

your dimples the daily drops of sugar in my coffee. 

when you still believed in Santa Claus

and fathers. 

when cement mixers were the most beautiful things. 

I'd have strapped you into your car-seat

with care to protect your precious sternum,

driven you to the ocean,

warned you about the sand and sun, 

watched you discover, discover, discover. 

I'd cut the tops off your strawberries 

and shoo the gulls away from your goldfish. 

and the water would frighten you. 

but a seat on the slope from my waist to my hip would be 

your bravery 

and slowly, 

slowly, 

together,

we'd wade into the surf.

About the Author

Spencer is an activist, caregiver and artist originally from Savannah, Georgia and now based in Chicago. She’s been published by the University of Chicago and the Denver-based Nudie Magazine, among others. In 2017, Spencer was a featured poet for the 5th Star Honors Award Ceremony. Her most treasured accolades are being awarded as a 2020 Bob Curry Fellow at The Second City and a 2019 Movement Maker within the National Network of Abortion Funds.