It’s on the edge of established lives that I catch a touch of lumpy throat,
bouncing someone else’s baby at someone’s else kitchen table
lovingly sourced and made from hand felled oak.
At least, I think it is. It doesn’t matter.
It’s always a tree, right? There’s no better imagery
for the ways the children feed themselves on our roots,
for the ways the fed are disentangled and shoved
off to their own desperate journeys for truth,
for the planks of disembodied souls
catching errant drips of morning milk from cereal bowls.
“Now Keri, write in your book that I love Keri and sign it with my name.”
My name now is Now Keri and I can’t even tell her how correct she is,
hitting the mark so accidentally.
“Now Keri, I am putting this sticker in your notebook.
Now Keri, you will always know that I was here.”
I want to thrust these colored pages into your hands so you can see
your words washed over in strokes of easter blues and greens.
She asks, with tiny brows and jellystains but no words,
with grubby hand of vibrant wax posed kinetically over stacks
of poems bound together searching endlessly for perpetuity.
How do I say no to her? How do I tell her that this the only thing that anything means?
I want to say “now child, you can write in any book I own.”
or “now child, the very act of my hand touching the page turns white to red”
or “now child, please, please don’t let us die.
Please pass me around and love as I have loved,
please carry me and foster me in the eyes of your own children,
let them know that you should say ‘hello’ to every sidewalk
and ‘hell no’ to every heavy task.”
Instead I say “yes, baby. Anything you ask.”