by | Jan 26, 2022 | Poetry

I am only as soft as the wind today,
how in March it almost kills with its fists.
I dream I die and shine in skin
the color of puddles after a freeze,
tree limbs waving in the reflection
above my daughter as she shows me
her paperchain, the letter A strung
in endless joining. I want to hold her
longer than she wants to be held.
She bucks, then pats my face, her fingers
gentle as new grass. She points to the trees:
there, the faintest chirps of sparrows
to the south. Or maybe they’re wrens.
Little bronze birds the color of naked bark,
their twittering like her quick lips
on my cheek. How I would give her everything,
as long as it’s quick. I am impatient
for purple crocuses to show their faces,
for buds to crown the branches
like a million babies being born.
Last night I lay awake, tallying:
14 years left before her room empties,
becomes first a shrine, then an office
with a bed or a pull-out sofa,
the air sighing around the furniture.
I run and run but I can’t catch up—
she blows past me with her gold hair
and rose cheeks, that sweetness I want
to keep hold of if only I could remember
forever the feel of her hand.

A by Meghan Sterling

Photo by brx0, used and adapted under CC.

About The Author


Meghan Sterling’s work has been nominated for 4 Pushcart Prizes in 2021 and has been published or is forthcoming in Rattle, Colorado Review, Idaho Review, The West Review, West Trestle Review, River Heron Review, SWWIM, Pinch Journal and many others. She is Associate Poetry Editor of The Maine Review. Her debut collection, These Few Seeds, is out from Terrapin Books. Read her work at meghansterling.com.