To a Squirrel, Age 8

You there, boy,

say something unprecedented again.

“Imagine if car tires were made of pizza”

you posit, so I do. I consider it seriously, 

but you’ve pivoted to designing a board game,

while beatboxing

and flying a pen around like a spaceship.

When I moved in you drew me a picture

of a sunflower to cheer me up 

though you didn’t know why I was sad.

Your instincts are good, 

you feral, whirling, golden-hearted creature.

I think you’re onto something here,

and I want a front-row seat for it.


To a Velociraptor, Age 5

Clever girl,

You are so thoroughly yourself.

This world is yours and you will have it,

but in your own damn time.

You are learning English

like it’s a foreign language

and let’s be honest, it is.

You make me think about words

because your approach is so novel.

You make me think about will

because yours is unshakable.

You are a force of nature

in a fun-sized package.

Good luck to those who underestimate you.


To Their Aunt, age 38

This might be the only answer you get

About how to stop feeling like a pretender

Look at the world through their eyes

Look at yourself that way, too.

It’s hard, the work of being a person 

You tell them over and over 

But the rewards are many

You get to decide what it means 

And you’re doing it just fine

You’re making all the right mistakes.