by Sarah Burnett

feel      young child     feel
you mudpie feel
young child feel
feel      didn’t I teach you to play with
all materials     feel
feel      quickly moving time-will-end soon    feel
you young child running there            feel
down the aisles where all the toys lay scattered
in the heart of the store where you’re peeing  feel
young child     feel
feel      there’s too many objects in your buggy          feel
you’re sitting there amongst the diapers         feel
feel      I mean, there’s Cheerios stuck all in your hair            feel
head’s rimmed with a birthday crown from apparel   feel
young child     feel
you next in line to potty train feel
feel      you bottle        feel
you bottle that keeps feeding milk
from nipple to greedy mouth  feel
feel      the toddlers have used you up
they all still drink in secrecy
the babies cry madly from lack of attention   feel
feel      you standing at the registry desk        feel
just like it’s where you live      feel
you crazy animals        feel
feel      you hovering around the desk feel
saying I swear my sister’s friend’s cousin’s nephew’s wife registered here & I want it
printed             feel
feel      you returner     feel
you standing hunched over the counter          you glaring at us
yelling about receipts you shouting over us
you really upset
you saying but my husband’s uncle’s friend’s cousin bought it here
you whipping out your cell phone to call        feel
the tension in us growing
the joke being on you later
you with your see-through tights-for-pants    feel
and your blue underwear visible         feel
oh you the one who will raise America’s future          feel
all the ways I’ll try to correct your errors        feel
they’ll rebel      their shoulders hunched when they’re back years later
standing where you once stood
their youth very apparent on that day
while they register & reproduce          feel
because they’ll wish they were still aisle running        feel
and knocking things over by your side           feel
crying  feel
be very patient & feel

Sarah Burnett is an English major in her final semesters at YSU. Her poem was originally written as an assignment, mimicking a Native American sweathouse ritual poem. She enjoys cooking, reading and dancing in her apartment with the blinds open.

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