Firsts | A Poem for Clementine on Her 1st Birthday

Last night, you reached for my
eyelashes as we rocked, and you
burst into the sweetest laughter.
A laughter that sounded different,
like it was meant only for me,
when we were just two,
rocking back and forth
as you got drowsy in my arms.

And the day before, you laid your
little head on my shoulder and
stared into my eyes like a perfect,
little cat, purring as I sang songs
you have heard for the last 363 days.
With one thumb to your plumb-round
cheek, you grinned without a sound,
closed your eyes, slept there.

Today, you are one.

You have forced me
to find my subject matter and
how you have fragmented
me and glued me back together.
You have sentimentalized me,
And I embrace the cliché.

You are my gold cell,
and it is nothing like before.

The evenings are lighter now –
like they were this time last year,
when I was weighted and hungry
to hold you on the outside.
And now, we have covered the
windows so your sweet eyes
can sleep as the late evening sun
sets horizontally through your window.

I wouldn’t go back.
I would trade this you,
with your longer legs and your
wobbly stature, for one moment of
newborn scent.
With every minute we rock,
I have to rein in my exploding Heart.



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