How Come the Thumb?
looks so delicious I can almost taste it.
And I can see that you’re not going to waste it.
But, after you have had a few more sips from it,
do you suppose you could remove your tongue and lips from it
so I can see your face
without the thumb in place?
I thought so.
Well, that’s okay. I’m used to seeing little kids with gums
around their thumbs.
In fact, I’ve never seen a little kid from North or South
Who could keep a thumb as good as yours out of his mouth.
Thumbs need comfort too, I realize.
And a mouth’s the perfect size
for a thumb to hide
In fact, a tongue
just right for chewing it,
so I’m not blaming you for doing it.
Bigger kids have learned how not to suck their thumbs like that.
But you’re too young for that.
Anyway, I think your thumb is great. I wouldn’t want to knock it.
I just thought, perhaps, you’d like to store it in your pocket
for awhile. Of course, in there it’s sure to get fuzz stuck on it,
which might affect your further plans to suck on it.
So, you would have to find things for your mouth to do
while there’s no thumb in you.
For instance, maybe you could hum
or chew some gum
and blow a bubble big enough to stretch from here to here
(from ear to ear.)
Or, if you could learn to purse your lips,
we could rehearse your lips
to teach them how to whistle the same song
all day long.
Which is guaranteed to irritate your dad and mum
as least as much as sucking thumb.
I’ve got to tell you, though, you can’t get any songs or gum in
with that thumb in.
So, why not jerk that thumb from in between your lips?
You’ll free your mouth for sips,
for lollipops and jawbreakers.
Why not just let your thumbs be paw shakers?
Develop a grip. Shake hands with friends.
They’ll love your handshakes with no soggy fingers at the ends.
Now I don’t want for you to take this wrong.
You wouldn’t have to take it out for long.
But if you’d pull that thumb out for a while,
Just long enough to show your smile,
I’d love to see your face for once with nothing in it.
Of course that’s hard for little kids––Hey, wait a minute.
Just what are those
two pink things there beneath your nose?
Are those your lips without a thumb in them?
And filled with just the teeth that come in them?
Is that your thumb so dry and pink?
it’s feeling better out in open space
than it has ever felt there in your face.
You must have had that mouth with not a finger in it
for at least a minute.
And you are looking very debonair
without those fingers waving in the air.
In fact, since you have ceased to suckle
on your knuckle,
you’re acting so much bolder,
that you are looking older.
So, now my only question is, how come
you never thought before to give up chewing thumb?
For dVerse Poets Pub. Somehow, these two Kafka quotes below wound up leading to the children’s book/verse above:
“I usually solve problems by letting them devour me.” from Letters to Friends, Family, and Editors
“Beyond a certain point there is no return. This point has to be reached.” from The Trial