we teach the kids to spill the beans

we teach the kids to spill the beans
when someone
whispers in their ears
this is a secret, mustn’t tell—
but children know we’re scamming them
they spend
their first few years
learning all the ways
that mom and dad cannot be trusted
if they could make their own t-shirts
each one would say
parents = buzzkill
that’s how smart our children are
for all our fierce indoctrination
they cannot be fooled by us
the children are their own future
they do not want or need us
so young, and already
tired of our baloney
for every baby knows
that if you cannot keep a secret you will never learn
more than one
cool thing

—Don Whittington

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