The first time I held you,
the first time I cupped a hand
under your down-fine hair,
you could not lift your head.
Sitting on the old coffee-colored
woven couch, I remember warmth,
our parents’ voices telling me
how to keep you safe, your weight
on my knees, the back of your head
filling my hand. And I was six,
it was summer, and you were
newly home. Clean, quiet,
alive. My brother asleep.
And sitting close, leaning over,
you watched him in the lamp light,
your head on my shoulder. I wish
I could remember holding you
like this, but you were there
before language, before sentences,
before the uncountable mornings
we danced on the orange rug
to our parents’ college records —
Ray Charles and Roberta Flack,
Hair while our mother made bread,
John Denver while our father dug
beds for herbs and zinnias,
blood root and bleeding heart.
Spring and my sister dancing.
How has it become
so rare to love like this?
Jumping into mud puddles,
castles in maple stumps,
lemon chicken in a college dorm,
calling you on the kitchen floor
in my first apartment
when my first love left me —
no, only my first in-love.
Love has a wider range.
Across 3,000 miles of rock
we are where we have always been
with our arms around each other.
NaPoWriMo’s prompt for today is a family photo. 30/30’s is “bewildered,” which a quick search tells me comes originally for “led into the woods,” from wilderness … which shares roots with wild deer.