The Whole of Them

When our daughters,

ages 5 and almost 8,

rest their weight on their elbows and

lean their chins into their cupped palms,

their cheeks fill up their hands,

spilling out between their fingers.


I can still scoop up these big girls from underneath,

cradling the backs of their knees

and their arm pits in my forearms,

and holding the whole of them to me.

I hold one of them and I sway back and forth,

rotating from the waist, saying to my husband,

“Remember when she was just a tiny baby?”


I do this because it feels good

and because I’m physically able to do it.

I do it because it’s a way

of reminding us that we’re all ok.

The Loneliness of Ignoring Herself

Try, try, try,

she held her worn self,

lying on her side,

aiming for respite,

but never fully resting,

as if she were an octopus,

tentacles always spooling out,



Extreme weather might help–

the crunch of boots on snow

and the bite of cold

could bring her back

to sit at the warm hearth

of her own company.