“Did you want me to be born?”

If you write at all tonight,
you might think you haven’t budged
for years,
grown a bit,
learned a thing
about letting go.

But then you fold the laundry,
his and theirs,
hair pulled back in a bunny tail,
jeans button unsnapped,
a hole in the toe of your sock
revealing the glittery blue polish
your daughter chose.
Arm crossing over arm,
sleeve over sleeve,
stiff corduroys looking so little
without legs in them,
limp Spiderman shirts and fleecy socks,
the only ones she’ll tolerate,
and men’s briefs –
you fold these so intimately
while the man himself sleeps,
just there,
on the couch.
With every fold you let go,
knowing these clothes won’t fit for long.

The start-up sound of the fridge
interrupts your reverie, waking you.

Have you budged?
Whose clothes are these?
Mama, did you want me to be born?
she asks,
as you snuggle under so many blankets.
You scoop her in,
inhaling her hair, hand on her brow.
, you say. Yes.
And you know then
that budging means learning to stay,
and letting go
means holding on to this “yes,”
even as she drifts away.

3 thoughts on ““Did you want me to be born?”

  1. MereMortal says:

    your poems are my favorite thing.
    they are such a treat.
    and this, so visceral in my own bones.
    i feel it, in the folding of the laundry too.
    thank you for wanting her to be born – what a gift!



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