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.