I can’t stop from thinking I need to drink her in.
The curve of her chin, the skin that ripples
in the crook of a bent arm, the rise and fall of her belly
during sleep, the flyaway curls
that catch the sun.
“Give me a push,”
she says, and I oblige,
watch her silhouette sail
toward the sun,
come back to me
…and away again.
A chemist once said matter
is neither created nor destroyed.
But what was there
What could there possibly be
Back to me
Her absence will be gradual
if I am blessed. Her voice cutting through
the phone line from another house,
She will be rushed. I’ll scramble
for anything just to keep her
on the line, her breath in my ear,
nothing between us
but an ocean.
“Come home,” I’ll want to tell her.
“I love you,” I will say instead, if I am true
to my intentions.
She will hang up, step lightly
into background noise. I will not
hang up, cradle phone to cheek, listening
for remnants of her voice to travel
back to me.
Now she needs me.
Then, she will not.
Even as I try to memorize her,
legs kicked out, face pressed
to the sky, as the swing carries her up —
“Look at me, Mommy!” —
it is the remembering
I will remember most.
Drink her in.
“Push me,” she says again. This time,
I send her flying, honey-brown hair glinting gold
against autumn sunlight. I can’t see
her eyes, but I know they are closed
and she is smiling.
Come back to me