Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Think #3: A Guff Going By

This story was inspired by one of the "Thinks" proposed by Dr. Seuss's "Oh the Thinks You Can Think!". If you are unfamiliar with the book, you can find an online version of it here. Every day from now through February 15th, I'll be posting a short story or poem based on one of the "Thinks" in the book. Enjoy! 


Who Thinks Up a Gruff (or: Seems Like a Dream)

In the days leading up to birth,
I thought a lot about my babies.
I thought about holding them
and feeding them
and singing in my own
tone-deaf way to put them
to sleep.

I didn't think
about gruffs.

I thought about lullabies and 
nursery nights,
rocking chairs and soft
hand-knit blankets.
I thought about the smell
of just bathed baby and the sound
of tiny giggles in my ears.

I never once thought
about gruffs.

I did a lot of thinking about
birthday party themes and
kindergarten cupcake extravaganzas.
I scrapbooked and dreamed
about hands holding mine
as we crossed busy streets
and car seats being buckled
and tooth fairy visits in the dead
of night.

I didn't spare a thought
for the gruffs.

Who thinks up a gruff?
Who watches their baby sleeping
and thinks up
a gruff?

Sometimes you don't have to think
a thought.
Sometimes a thought
thinks you, and you
have no choice but to listen
as the gruff expounds on
all the ways
he hates you.

The gruff that used to be
your son.

He sits there
like a teddy bear, all cute
and brown, and fluffy,
but his long tail threatens 
to strangle you.
You didn't think him up,
but there he is,
this gruff.

There he is,
and he says,
he hates you.

Baby belly dreams
skip over pre-teen
melodrama and
the hormones that who the heck knew
boys had too?

I am harsh.
I am cruel.
I make him feel stupid.

Says the gruff.

He wipes away my kisses.
He pounds the walls of the home
I thought up for him,
the room in the house
built to keep him safe.
He defies and screams lies,
and there are no soft sweet lullabies
that will talk him off
the ledge…

my gruff.

Oh, my gruff.

I cannot dream my way
back to sleepless nights and
diaper changes.
I cannot think my way back
to car seats and
tooth fairies and Santa Clauses.
Even the hardest hard day
like a dream

with a gruff.

Give me back booties
that won't stay on his feet.
Give me back spit-up stained clothes
and days without
and nights where I cried
just to sleep.
Give me back grocery store visits
with sticky hands and tears
over no candy today,
and give me back mechanical horses 
that make everything better
for a quarter in a slot and
a ten second ride.

Give me back my little boy
and you can have
this gruff.

Because even the hardest hard day
with a baby
seems like a dream

with a gruff.


Heather Truett writes literary fiction, poetry, and other things with deepness and feelings (I fear that sounds sarcastic, but it's not - her words are beautiful). She blogs at Madame Rubies and Middle Places. She lives in the deep American South where she's labors tirelessly to raise her children to be even half as awesome as she is. She tweets and you should tell her that her butt looks good in jeans. 

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, wow. This poem really stands out and is so emotive. What an original and personal take on a gruff. The setup and execution is just perfect. What a great idea.