Seeking comfort, I fade to gray—
wear my washed-out black jeans
gray sweater, aged suede boots
to work before Thanksgiving Day.
It’s cool for South Florida.
My sons still wear shorts and
polo shirts to high school.
My first son, older by two minutes,
slept with the light on again.
He laments being tired,
then lets F-words fly like
small, ugly birds from
his otherwise beautiful mouth,
while the younger loses himself
in his earphones, as usual.
Music, I hope—
not silence—
though a benefit is canceling noise,
including me.
I remind myself they’re still boys.

They are early for drop-off,
a first in many weeks.
“I love you,” we say
as they exit the car.
They walk—
the elder’s proud build, straight hair,
the younger’s thin frame and unruly curls
merge with the crowd.
Their shoulders
cannot quite carry
even their small world.
They’re taller than the rest,
an asset they lean on.
I idle a minute,
and then they’re gone.


About the Author

Maryanne Chrisant, MD, has been published in 34th Parallel Magazine, Connecticut River Review, and on the podcast Anamnesis: Medical Storytellers. She has attended writing workshops with Jericho Writers, The New School, Tufts University, and in Shaker Square, Ohio. She studied poetry with Galway Kinnell and Denise Levertov. Maryanne is a physician and has held leadership roles at many prominent health-care institutions in the U.S. An advocate for children’s health, she currently directs the Pediatric Heart Transplant, Heart Failure & Cardiomyopathy Program at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in South Florida.