Rainy Day


A rain-drizzled day,

the kiss of fall in the air.

Nowhere to go,

No one to be,

So we’re baking, mess-making—

And for one don’t-blink moment,

Fleeting as night lights

And milk spills

And dandelion wishes,

All is right

In our little world.


Little Things


It’s the little things I love the most,

the little things that make the good life good.

It’s brushing fingers with the boy-turned-man

I once begged God to turn my way,

And he smiles, twinkle-eyed,

And it’s still all for me,

and still my heart stands still.

It’s miniature pajamas hanging in an empty closet,

waiting,

and I never thought

we’d have someone to wear them.

It’s the utter exasperation of

folding tiny mismatched socks

I thought I’d only buy for friends.

It’s my chubby alarm clock waddling in,

well before the dawn,

lisping, “Mommy, can I snuggle you?”

In she climbs, and she smells like strawberries

and promise.

It’s a victory dance for that first-time triumph;

it’s a wacky dance

just ’cause we feel like dancing—

and the sillier we look,

and the faster we spin,

the harder we laugh,

and the better it feels.

 

It’s a monkey squeeze from a blue-eyed boy

who still begs Mommy to carry him,

and I’ll do it till my arms fall off

—which they may—

because I know it will end soon.

It’s the welcome sinking of the sun—just barely night—

and I’m so weary I can hardly cross

the toy-strewn tornado-zone

to collapse and prop up my aching feet,

but as I close my eyes,

I sigh a prayer of thanks,

and drink it in,

and promise never to forget,

never to squander

these little things.


I’m Still Here


Michelin-Man legs kicking and flailing,

with a mighty grunt

you heave your roly-poly belly over,

then crane your weeble-wobble head around

to see where I went, though I have not moved—

I smile.

“I’m still here.”

 

Breakfast time, your pancakes wait;

you clamber up to gobble, squealing, “Cake-cakes!”

I sip my coffee on the couch behind you;

you cast glances over your shoulder to find me—

twinkle-eyed, you flash that syrupy heart-stopping grin.

I laugh.

“I’m still here.”

 

First day.

Your thin fingers squeeze mine in a death grip,

but soon you scamper off, hand-in-hand with a new friend;

every so often you pause to take sly peeks

at the pack of chatting Mommies—

I wave.

“I’m still here.”

 

“Here is fine, Mom.”

I brake, a dozen yards from the swarm of

bookbag-burdened pre-people.

I turn to hug you, but the door is already shut,

your back melting into the mob, disappearing.

I sigh.

“I’m still here.”

 

A shrill ring jangles me from a noontime armchair nap.

Little shouts and babbles tumble in the background

as we laugh across the miles.

A squeaky lisp interrupts, the line crackles; you chuckle.

“Are you there, Mom?”

I nod.

“I’m still here.”

 

A rattling disturbs my dreamy haze—

my own ragged breath.

A soft hand brushes cool against my forehead,

a lilting voice, warm as honeyed memories, sings lullabies—old friends.

“Don’t stop,” I say, even as I drift.

I smile.

You whisper, “I’m still here.”


I Like You Best


After dark, I like you best:

Day fades to gray,

Moonlit fingers paint stripes across your bed, your face.

I tiptoe in and rest a palm across your back

to feel you breathe—

up and down, the rise and fall;

I lean in close to breathe the sweet clean milk of you,

to feel the warmth of life

flowing in and out, in and out as you dream.

You sigh.

And I smile—serene, content—

This is my sunset.

When you’re asleep, I like you best.

 

At day’s first light, I like you best:

Dawn brings a gentle scratching,

the swish-swish of chubby elbows and knees and button nose

scrabbling against the sheets.

Then one little grunt, and soon another;

soft coos and squeals crescendo to a chorus

of joyful babbles to salute the day—

my alarm clock.

I shuffle in,

eyes bleary, all-over weary, heart warming—

and peek around the doorframe.

Two bright chipmunk eyes, two black buttons

peer up at me between the slats.

Eyes twinkle, cheeks crinkle, nose wrinkles;

rosebud lips send fireworks sparkling across the morning—

This is my sunrise.

When you’re awake, I like you best.

 

From good-morning sunrise to lullaby sunset

and every hour in between;

from your first cry to my last breath,

until the echo of us fades, our souls’ footprints blow away—

that’s when I like you best.

 


Full Circle


She hobbles past, every step an effort, almost painful to watch—

ninety years of walking and breathing, loving and living, caught up to her at last.

But they haven’t won yet. Not yet.

Behind her, a younger woman—a just-greying reflection of the older—hovers,

keeps a protective hand on the woman’s bent and crooked back.

The mother turns her head our way, just for a moment.

Her blue eyes, muted and milky by time, somehow still sparkle;

her white hair shines in the light from the window.

She glances at the tiny blanketed bundle, snug in my arms,

breathing now these nine days.

“Enjoy your baby,” she says with a knowing smile, and shuffles on.

“I will,” I say. “I do.”

And watching them pick their way—slowly, slowly—

through the lobby, past all the pregnant bellies,

until they disappear with the nurse through the double doors,

I am reminded

that she had her turn,

and now it is mine,

and one day,

this warm, blinking bundle I carry and shield and adore

will walk behind me

and do the same for me.