Problem Children

Boy A needs to be at soccer
at 3:45 PM while
Boy B has karate class at 4:15.
Your husband, the nefarious
Mr. X, is on a plane
taking him 3,215 miles from home -
and making 16 multinational calls
on his cell phone from the airport,
at a cost of $ 1.95 apiece.
And you, wife, mother,
have a meeting set to begin -
fill in the blank - at 4:00.

Boy A and Boy B have been
fighting all this cold, dark, rainy afternoon.
If Boy B raises his voice to 6.5 decibels
and Boy A screeches back
to reach a combined pitch of 7.8 decibels
and then, there's an ominous crash,
what's your breaking point?

Mr. X calls from his dinner party in LA.
"Hon," he says, sounding be-kind-to-me-in-public,
"I forgot a package I need for
"tomorrow's meeting on the bed / desk /
"dresser / or back at the office.
"Special messenger it to me, huh?"
Mr. X has forgotten the time difference.
Boys A and B are in their beds, the dishes
are stacked - oh - maybe 9.6 feet high -
and you would rather do anything -
anything - than chase down the
Fed-Ex guy and give him your sob story.
So do you:
(a) pretend the cell phone's breaking up
(b) get right on it because,
after all, Mr. X makes your heart sing, or
(c) do it despite the hill of resentment growing
even taller than the festering dishes?

Michelle Cameron

Michelle Cameron's two sons, Alex and Geoff, are only "problem children" once in a while. Currently 11 and 13, they actually provoke much delight.

If you've any comments on this poem, Michelle Cameron would be pleased to hear from you. Or you can visit

{short description of image}