by Victoria Redel

Tell me it’s wrong the scarlet nails my son sports or the toy
store rings he clusters four jewels to each finger.

He’s bedecked. I see the other mothers looking at the star
choker, the rhinestone strand he fastens over a sock.
Sometimes I help him find sparkle clip-ons when he says
sticker earrings look too fake.

Tell me I should teach him it’s wrong to love the glitter that a
boy’s only a boy who’d love a truck with a remote that revs,
battery slamming into corners or Hot Wheels loop-de-looping
off tracks into the tub.

Then tell me it’s fine – really – maybe even a good thing – a boy
who’s got some girl to him,
and I’m right for the days he wears a pink shirt on the seesaw in
the park.

Tell me what you need to tell me but keep far away from my son
who still loves a beautiful thing not for what it means –
this way or that – but for the way facets set off prisms and
prisms spin up everywhere
and from his own jeweled body he’s cast rainbows – made every
shining true color.

Now try to tell me – man or woman – your heart was ever once
that brave.

I’m not entirely sure about all of her line breaks, or her choices to make some lines run together, but it occurs to me that the structure of her poem is almost like the facets she writes about – a little fractured, a little distorted, but sparkling and lovely all the same. I love the idea that “he’s bedecked.” It carries so many connotations: luxury, extravagance, even something (like prejudice or stereotypes) that’s put upon one. And I love the last line. Maybe I’m sappy, but it gave me chills.

One Response to “Bedecked”

  1. Johanna Bos says:

    I love this poem. It’s eloquent and defiant, arguing in lovely images against strict gender boundaries. It’s great to read out loud.

    Johanna Bos