to my future kid.


i’ve thought about you so much.
years before you took your first real breath,
you were running marathons
through my wonder and worry,
chasing my dreams,
which I thought were dreams for you
until you rerouted those tired trails
to blaze your enigmatic own.
you will surprise me with reminders of myself,
vibrant echoes creating new melodies
until they outdo their source
in beauty and strength.

one day, soon, i will hold you,
a perfect jigsaw piece
nestled in my puzzled arms,
and in that moment i will be terrified
that i might stagger under the weight
of your enormous existence,
that my grasp might loosen
and i might let you fall
even while i cradle tight your tiny frame.

i will make checklists of my experience
and hang them from a nursery mobile:
here, my love, is what my parents did
and what they didn’t do,
what i wish they had and hadn’t done,
what i would repeat, and what i would repair,
and what i will regret.
these, capering from our ceiling,
will distract and delight us both for a time,
spinning fantasies to comfort us
until we accept how things will be.

i spend sleepless nights thinking of nights
i will sleep when you will need me awake,
my heart aching to imagine how yours
might bruise from my unsuspecting blows.
if ever my storm should shatter the hull of your ship,
i will plant myself as a lighthouse
and fill the seas with fleets of lifeboats.
i promise you not my unfailing grip
but my unfailing reach,
and i hope that your hands,
stronger in their grace
than mine in their grief,
will be what hold us fast in the end.


(with enormous thanks to Ben Folds for the hurricane of feelings that generated this, and Davina Lee for her editing wizardry.)

PoetryDan LeeComment