He crawls into my bed
in the early morning light
ponytail holders in hand.
"I'm still asleep,"
I murmur into the pillow.
"No, you're not," he replies
and makes those annoying noises
that are his specialty until I sit up
and pull the brush
through his long blond hair.
He lays his head in my lap
so I can weave a tiny
French braid over his right ear
then switches sides
and finally settles between my knees
for the thicker braid at the back.
He finally got brave enough
to wear his Legolas braids
to school last week.
"Did anyone make fun of you?"
I asked and he listed off the names
of a bunch of fourth-grade thugs.
"Did you beat them up?" I asked,
of these children guilty of a double
crime: not taking my son for who he is
and implying that "girl" is less-than, an insult.
"Pretty much," he said. "Did you tell
them they're just jealous of your
beautiful hair that brings in the ladies?"
My son dove under the table, retching.
There is only one girl he admits liking
and that only obliquely, crawling into her bed
in the early morning light.