When I had a son in his early teens
a Russian thought formed in my head
that if a war came I would cut
the index finger of his right hand off
so that he would be no use for fighting.
The part of me which visits
hospitals would do the cutting.
I wouldn’t care if he hated me
for what I did.
I might even be pleased.
By this time I knew that he was nearly
a man, and that if I didn’t cut his finger off
or shoot him in the foot, he would go.
Even if he was afraid.
Even if he thought it was pointless.
Now he is a man and I ask him
to carry my suitcase.