WATCHING MY SON BLOOM INTO SUMMER, poem by Armin Tolentino

His mossy crotch stains the shower floor green
and the drain is clogged with wet clumps of grass.

My boy unfolds into fronds of fern as he slowly sheds
any semblance of me. I’m losing his face through bark

and branches. His hair fluffs with pollen
and his armpits secrete a nectar so cloying

his room is filled with bees. He no longer speaks,
just stares out the window, lusting for sun.

I lie and tell him I understand, that it’s natural,
but my voice is lost through miles of forest.

I don’t know what to get him for his birthday.
I place a basket beneath his outstretched arms

and together we celebrate his falling leaves.

—Armin Tolentino


Armin Tolentino (poem, Back Cover) received his MFA at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. His poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Smoky Blue Literary and Arts Magazine, Ellipsis, and Backwords Press. He was a 2014 Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship recipient, and hopes one day to earn a Guinness Record for the world’s loudest clap.

Published in Raven Chronicles, Vol. 22, 2016.