Today, I held you within reach of your mother

when you reached down the front of my shirt

and said, “Nana,” your pronunciation for nurse

and a name for what?  You grasped at straws—


as if recalling my grade-school shame around girls

at the Y, when I crossed my arms or draped a towel

over my neck to cover up


                         —before you finally withdrew,

but only to tug the collar of my tee to peek in.

“Nana?” you asked this time but told plenty:


Love long before you take.


by Sidney Thompson



Sidney Thompson’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in RHINO Poetry, IthacaLit, A capella Zoo, The Fat City Review, and The Fertile Source. He is the author of the short story collection Sideshow (River City). Sidney lives in Denton, TX, where he teaches creative writing at Texas Woman’s University.

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