Don’t Even Think About It by Tobi Cogswell

for Owen, who will always be protected

Rosemary grows up
the side of the wall.
In wind that gains speed
it makes haunted house
noises, scares the boy
from sleep. His dreams of
pirates and planets
come to a screeching
halt. His brain tries to
catalog the sounds,
thinks only of the
ghosts under the bed
that haven’t plagued him
in years. He is three again.
His mother,
smart in the ways of
monsters, squirts green-dyed
water under the
bed. His father yells at the
foolishness, tells him to grow up.
Such is the way of
customs in this house;
protection from one,
from the loud other.
This is why he has
a horseshoe-shaped scar.
The mother bullied
to not have it stitched,
the boy scared witless
by the thought that he
would be tied down and
“sewn up", by monster
doctors like the ones
under his bed. It’s
not always true that
two parents are best
for a child. One heart
fearless enough to
slay every dragon
is all that he needs.

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