“Don’t Worry, Mom, Don’t Panic” by Cailena Bickell

Cailena Bickell (age 4)


If I made up a poem,
I would call it:
“Don’t Worry, Mom, Don’t Panic.”

If I were you,
I would slide down a rainbow.
If I were you,
I’d get a bunk bed,
So I wouldn’t have to sleep with Dad.

If I’m me,
I’ll marry a girl.
Because boys are always being funny with the jokes,
Jokes, jokes, jokes,
All the time.

Like, I know Dad is tricking me,
When he says Aunty Kim doesn’t have a heart.
’Cause Aunty Kim loves me
More than anything
In the whole world
And that takes a big heart.
Only bad guys don’t have hearts.

Don’t worry, Mom,
Don’t worry about bad guys,
’Cause Dad is big, and he helps crying people,
And he shoots coyotes that get over the fence to eat us.
Too bad he’s too big for the school bus.

I love Dad ’cause he’s my dad,
All mine,
And Chloe’s,
But she’s a baby,
So it’s OK to share with her.

And Mom is always like:
“Here’s my card,
I’ll do some work for you.
I write stories about horses,
And roosters,
And kids,
And work.”
But not Elmo,
Never Elmo.

I’m too little,
But too little is not too bad.

And, Mom?
Be careful.
Don’t talk to seagulls.
They eat garbage and their breath is stinky.

You don’t have to be brave all the time, Mom.
Hold my hand.
Do you feel better now?

I love you, Mom.
Don’t worry, I watch out for birds.
You are the banana in my eye;
You are my best Momma.
And Dad is a hero,
And everybody shouts,
“Yay, Freddy!”

I don’t need to go to school today,
I know everything, now.
Oh, but
Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom,
I don’t know anything yet.

I’ll be a doctor.
And I’ll say,
“Uh oh, Mom.
There’s a beetle in your boob.

from 2014 Rattle Young Poets Anthology


Why do you like to write poetry?

Cailena Bickell: “What’s [poetry], again? I’m just good at talking.”

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